Veena's Reviews > Family Plots: Love, Death & Tax Evasion

Family Plots by Mary Patrick Kavanaugh
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's review
Oct 12, 2009

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bookshelves: arc, 2009-read
Read in October, 2009

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.

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10/12/2009 page 16
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