Saturday, October 31, 2009

Family Plots: Love, Death & Tax Evasion by Mary Patrick Kavanaugh

Family Plots: Love, Death & Tax Evasion
by Mary Patrick Kavanaugh
Published October 27th 2008 by 

Paperback, 300 pages


Family Plots is a fresh and funny autobiographical novel about a young mother trying against all odds to create a normal family life with her new husband, a criminal attorney, who—it turns out—is committing a few crimes of his own. The novel offers readers a wry, unsentimental account of a marriage barreling toward calamity. In an attempt to find romance, family, and financial stability, its struggling heroine stumbles into a world of pseudonyms, fake weddings, and hidden bank accounts. Events that land many of the players into the family cemetery plot also reveal unexpected secrets and stashes that manage, in small ways, to transform a tale of seeming tragedy into one of surprising healing and redemption.

Family Plots, which the author likes to call Pulp Fiction, a term which I found both funny and interesting is based on real events that happened in the author's life. She explains that she has changed the script of her life a bit, invented some dialogues, given a little more spice to her characters and made this book at once witty, suspenseful and just like the blurb says, healing.
Mary bought up in a disjointed family always yearned for a normal family with a loving husband who would be a charming father for her little princess Rachel. Mary knew Dan earlier as her boss, but  after a break of a few years, a child from a former college heart-throb and a life under unrelenting tower of debts later, she finds Dan again. Dan at once fits into the role of a family man. Mary decides to start over with Dan, to solve her debt issues and give Rachel the family and security that she never had. She gets a job and starts doing really well. Mary is ready to forgive all of his secretiveness and lies that Dan spurns up time to time when question about the legitimacy of his work and his friends, for the perfect family that she dreamed of.
Dan by profession is a criminal attorney and abandons his profession to pursue different business opportunities which almost always ended up in being disasters. He keeps everything locked behind drawers and Mary has no idea most of the times about what he is up to.
Feeling a kind of sympathy for Mary as she tried to bring meaning to Rachel and her lives was easy. But as the novel progresses one also ends up with a feeling of happiness for her successes. I however never understood her fixation with putting up with Dan. As Mary tried hard to keep her mind over matter, she gets into more trouble than she bargained for, with Dan.
I dived into this one, not knowing what really to expect out of it. It is the first autobiographical account I have read. I found it engrossing and at the same time witty. It is insightful and makes the most silliest moment seem really funny. There is also packed in a lot of insight in this little book which delivers in spite of the Sixteen Rejections it faced from the top NYC Publishers [ Mary I really liked the idea of having that written on the gold medallion that's on the cover, it caught my attention :-)]
Through small steps and constant struggle, we see Mary finally taking the right steps in the right direction but what about her better half?! This book is more suspenseful than you could imagine. There was always this feeling in me of wanting to know what went wrong next! Trust me not in a bad way but still, you know what I mean. For everything, it was worth seeing Mary coming out a winner in spite of ALL the odds.There were so many little things that really made me think... like this one ..
I thought about the time when I was seven and my dad handed me a crisp one hundred dollar bill. I clutched it greedily thinking of all the things I could buy. I'd take my best friend to Disney land, eat all the chocolate mint ice cream I wanted; buy new dresses, make-up, patent leather shoes, and still have money left for a case of Mystic Mints, which I would never share with Hank. I thought of so many things I could do with the money, and none of it included saving it. My dad cheered at all my ideas, then said, "Okay honey, Give it back.". What? I clung to the bill. "You didn't really think I was serious?" he said. Since then, I'd spent money faster than I got it.
- p.207

I am sure this is one book that will make a great gift this Christmas for anyone who needs to see the light at the end of the tunnel, who need to remember that whatever the odds, we only win if we are ready to fight them!
Such things and more make this book - spicy, sweet, mysterious and a good ride.
Thank you Dorothy of  Pump Up Your Book Promotion for giving me chance to review this book!

For more reviews :- 
Lisa's from Lit and Life
Kay's from Kay's Bookshelf


Suko said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this book! :-) It seems like a good choice for this time of the year.

Stephanie said...

It sounds like an interesting book -- I love the clever subtitle.

Dorothy said...

LOL, wasn't that a great excerpt? Veens, thank you so much for posting your wonderful review...I'm about to send the link over to Mary just in case she hasn't read your can review for us anytime! XXXOOOXXX

Beth F said...

I loved that extract! Great one. This sounds like a good book and you wrote a fabulous review.

Lisa said...

I couldn't understand what attracted Mary to Dan or why she put up with him. I would have run the other way! As good as she was about making me care about other things, she just never was able to paint Dan in a light that made me see his advantages.

Anonymous said...

I have an award waiting for you on my blog :)

Shona said...

Great review Veens and u selected a very catchy excerpt..Sounds like an account that needs to be read.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Veens. Loved your review, and think if readers had met Dan, they would have stayed with him too. Great of you to give the story exposure!
Mary Patrick Kavanaugh

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