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Pretend All Your Life

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In the eerie winter after New York's most famous day, enigmatic egoist Dr. Richard Gallin has no end of troubles. A success on his own terms-Park Avenue plastic surgeon, father, art collector, libertine-Gallin is suddenly hard-pressed to hold on to his place in a post-9/11 world he hardly recognizes. And it's not just Richard Gallin whose identity is in flux. The turmoil i

Hardcover, 199 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Permanent Press (NY)
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Feb 15, 2010 dvd rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, first-reads
Note: This book will be on shelves April 1, 2010 from The Permanent Press.

I don't read much fiction these days. I was however offered an opportunity to read a new work of fiction by Joseph Mackin entitled "Pretend All Your Life." From the top let me say that this is an adult book and deals with several adult issues including murder, sex, grief, and the overall bleakness of the human condition.

Centering around the life of Dr. Gallin, a New Y0rk City plastic surgeon, the book is set six months af
Apr 12, 2010 Sheila rated it it was amazing
Not too long ago I read Saturday, a novel by Ian McEwan that details the events of a single day. I really loved it. When I read that the events in Joseph Mackin’s Pretend All Your Life take place over just six days, I found myself wondering how it would compare. When I started to read, I realized it compares very well.

The protagonist in both books is a medical professional, but Joseph Mackin’s protagonist, Dr. Gallin, is a plastic surgeon rather than a neurosurgeon. The novel reflects this speci
Mar 26, 2010 Jess rated it liked it
I won this book in January's giveaway! Thank you!

I really liked this book but there were two things that kept me from giving it 4 stars.

What was the purpose of the chapter, almost at the end, about Andrea? I kept thinking she was going to play a role, any role, in the development of the story. I was left hanging. It was as though the author thought, 'Well, I need to wrap up the loose ends with Andrea', then threw in that chapter. If it had been included right after Gallin left, it might have mad
Oscar Moore
Feb 03, 2010 Oscar Moore rated it it was amazing
A strong surprise of a book, this work is is a stone-hard story about living while dying, and about what it means to need and not to. The images Mackin presents are striking and original, and will linger in your mind long after you've finished the novel. This is a story you have not been told.

The prose is lithe and becoming, sly but always honest. He will tell you things you know but don't say, and things you say but don't know. And if you listen right, there's a heart in this story that beats

Remember all the dark thoughts many people harbored after 9/11--despair, grief, revenge, survival, protection and opportunity? In Pretend All Your Life, erudite wordsmith Joseph Mackin thoroughly taps into them. At times unsettling, Pretend All Your Life is pierced with hopeful moments. It delves into loss and reinvention. There are also those who saw 9/11 as the chance to try new projects, personas, careers, starts. Dr. Richard Gallin is an art collector, plastic surgeon and man with vast wealt
Feb 15, 2010 Suze rated it it was ok
There's a very interesting plot buried within the constant introspection in this book. Unfortunately, for the most part it's dedicated to every single waking thought of the various characters, with little actual conversation. I think they call this type of writing 'stream of consciousness'.

The basic plot is simple: six disastrous days in the life of Dr. Richard Gallin, a plastic surgeon living in post-9/11 New York City. Dr. Gallin is not a likeable character, so that by the end of the first cha
Feb 05, 2010 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This book was a book about the life of one man following the death of his son at World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks. Dr. Richard Gallin is mourning the death of his son Bernardo. As his life spirals out of control, Bernardo reappears, very much alive. He wants to make a fresh start in his life and has asked his father, a reknowned plastic surgeon, to help him by changing his appearance. Meanwhile, the reporter boyfriend of a nurse that Gallin let go because he was HIV positive is trying to ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Tara rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was a quick read, partly due to a night of insomnia that got me through the 2nd half of the book. The storyline started slow for me, but once I got a few chapters in it all started coming together. The overarching theme for me was how tragic life can be, whether there is a national tragedy (in this case 9/11) going on or not.

There are a lot of great themes: beauty, right/wrong, secrets. I would enjoy reading this book again to see the progression of those themes. He also has an expansive v
Holly Foley (Procida)
May 09, 2010 Holly Foley (Procida) rated it it was amazing
Joe was a college classmate of mine. He has utilized his liberal arts education to provide the world with an extremely well written book about a post 9/11 professional and the shattered pieces of his life . The novel teems with knowledge of people, places and things that keep you thinking throughout. This plot rich book has the class and quality of an Ian McEwan novel and the spunk of Dean Koontz. There are passages in this book I will guarantee you will not be able to forget. I hope he sells ...more
Apr 13, 2012 Jule rated it really liked it
The author's turns of phrase, metaphors and in-depth & insightful descriptions are definitely 5 star and worth the read even if there wasn't a story to hang them on, which there was. I gave the review a 4 star because while the characters were interesting I could'nt sympathize or care for any of them, especially the protagonist. When it doesn't really matter what happens to anyone, whether they are good or evil, the book loses its impetus for me. I'll definitely stay on the look out for ...more
Mar 14, 2010 Heather rated it it was ok
I'm not too fond of this book. I received an ARC through a giveaway on Goodreads. It sounded interesting, but didn't live up to my expectations. It took the book quite awhile to become interesting, and ended unfinished. I hate stories that leave a ton of questions unanswered, and that's what this one does. I felt it took too long to get started on the actual story, and the story was over when it really was getting good.
Nov 25, 2014 Paulette rated it really liked it
Won this on the Goodreads Giveaway! Story of Dr. Richard Gallin, Park Avenue plastic surgeon mourning the loss of his son Bernardo on 9/11. This book started out a little slow for me but picked up when Bernardo reappears, wanting his father to help him change his appearance so he can start a new life elsewhere.
Feb 12, 2010 Cindy rated it did not like it
Good plot just not developed. This good of been a good read if it had more suspense added. The whole book was dry and boring.
Veronica Jarvis
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Feb 20, 2011
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May 11, 2011
Feb 18, 2010 Karen marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads
Won this through the First Reads giveaway. Looking forward to receiving!
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Joseph Mackin received an MA in Literature from New York University, and has studied writing at Yale and at the IEN in Barcelona, Spain. He was the original Internet editor of The Paris Review under the direction of George Plimpton, and has since developed a number of successful Internet ventures. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and son.

The website for Pretend All Your Life can be found at www
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