The Worst Novel of the Decade

How does the following novel plot sound to you?

A housewife separates from her husband and decides she needs to find a job. After 10 years spent heating up pizza for her only child and doing absolutely nothing else, she heads to New York and immediately gets hired as a Vice President of a PR firm. Of course, she has no education, no credentials, no work experience in the field, and no people skills, but she immediately becomes a star in the field. By “immediately” I mean with the very first project she completes.

Soon, our housewife cum PR genius gets hired by the most famous PR company in NYC, gets a huge salary, a personal chauffeur, and is routinely invited to red carpet events. She puts to shame all of the seasoned PR execs at her company by her natural brilliance in the field of PR.

Then a Hollywood movie star falls in love with her. And that is just the beginning.

No, I’m not describing a plot of a Harlequin Romance. This is a novel called A Thousand Pardons by writer Jonathan Dee. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about him:

Dee was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2010 for criticism in Harper’s. He has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts[6] and the Guggenheim Foundation.[7] His 2010 novel, “The Privileges”, won the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald prize and was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He was the second winner of the St. Francis College Literary Prize.

Amazon’s review page describes Dee as being in the same group as not only the trashy Jonathan Franzen but also as the phenomenally talented Richard Russo. I mean, this Dee fellow obviously has some pretensions to be an actual writer who produces actual literature. In reality, though, all he can create is an equivalent of 50 Shades of Grey without the bonus of the masturbatory potential. If the author of this kind of garbage gets prestigious literary prizes, then something had gone really wrong.

We all know that literary prizes get handed out for all sorts of corrupt reasons but the kind of shamelessness needed to short-list the garbage produced by this nincompoop for the Pulitzer is really scary.

17 thoughts on “The Worst Novel of the Decade

  1. Obviously I haven’t read the novel so I’m just basing this off of what you say and Amazon’s page:

    It is indeed curious that a “serious” author has decided to go with a Mary Sue wish fulfillment plot. Or he doesn’t think that much of PR people so he believes that a housewife who has been out of work for ten years can easily find a job let alone be promoted so rapidly. Or that if her husband’s fuck up is such a financial emergency that she find work right away she’s somehow able to relocate to Manhattan, the one of the expensive part of one of the most expensive cities on earth. You don’t step into high level jobs like that without talent unless you are extremely connected — which begs the question of how involved she is with anything. PR is all about connections.

    And the most glaring plot hole of all? If she’s some kind of unrecognized PR wunderkund, she apparently couldn’t spin her husband’s way out of being fired. I have to believe this is penny ante shit for a PR person. There’s a long history of wives burnishing their husband’s images or smoothing out men’s interpersonal snafus.

    Perhaps the plot is a wish fulfillment for men who want to believe their wives’ skills haven’t atrophied so badly.


    1. This novel is simply offensive to all those people who have brilliant resumes, tons of work experience, great education, but can’t get employed because of what the economy is like. I know that many folks will enjoy this fantasy but it is a very ridiculous one.

      Another really annoying side of the novel is that the author is one of those middle-aged guys who consider themselves huge experts on the psychology of teenage girls. The author’s idea of a teenager is bizarre and seems informed entirely by very silly TV shows.


          1. Not hatred, but the illusion of superiority or narcissistic compensation. The more your basic humanity has been denied, the more you need this drug, but it will kill you in the end.


  2. From the book description on Amazon:

    “She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes,”

    This sounds like this book is crack cocaine for unhappy middle aged women…..


  3. RE “50 shades” – I read that the main male character has a therapist, who enables his dysfunctional behavior, instead of helping. Christian Grey then proceeds to claim that “therapy is for weak people.” Of course, only the heroine will help him by her love and (mainly) sex. In addition, doctors are presented as unpleasant people.


    1. anti-authoritarianism might have its value if it didn’t all too often flip into authoritarianism. The vacuous person who feels that no authority can tell him or her what to do often goes running to some kind of authoritative system. Sucked in.


  4. The author will get even richer if this is adapted into a Hollywood movie. It has the kind of escapist plot many people like to see on screen, and the visuals: glitzy Manhattan, luxurious apartments, a George Clooney type of Hollywood actor suitor (maybe played by George Clooney). Unrealistic career trajectories pop up frequently in movies too.


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