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3.53  ·  Rating details ·  805 ratings  ·  178 reviews
Justin Kramon’s debut novel, Finny, is a sweeping, enchanting voyage, an insightful story about a young woman’s complicated path to adulthood.
We meet Finny Short as an observant, defiant fourteen-year-old who can’t make sense of her family’s unusual habits: Her mother offers guidance appropriate for a forty-year-old socialite; her father quotes Nietzsche over pancakes. Fi
Paperback, 366 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  805 ratings  ·  178 reviews

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Apr 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, first-reads
I'm done. No, I didn't finish the book but I'm done all the same. I just keep looking over at my nightstand with my nearly neglected Nabokov, that history book I've been reading for months now and my Maugham I mean to start momentarily and I keep thinking 'why am I forcing myself to read this?' So I'm not. I'm done. Sorry Mr. Kramon but your book is just too poorly written to continue with and as much as I'd like to help a new author like yourself, I can't in good conscience give you that extra ...more
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There are times I read a novel and muse upon whether I should try and become an author myself as what was served up to me as sure fire literary goodness turned out to be yesterdays leftovers. Then there are times that I just have to hold my hands up in submission and face the fact that I could never write a novel as wonderful as the one I just digested. 'Finny' falls into the latter category and is an absolute treat that will leave your literary craving well and truly satisfied.
I have to admit t
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
From My book review blog (Rundpinne):[return]Through bizarre circumstances, eccentric characters, and extraordinary events lies an undercurrent of deep sadness in Justin Kramon’s debut novel Finny. The novel chronicles Finny Short’s life beginning at age 14, and for the next 20 years, the story is told in a straightforward manner and the reader may easily be taken aback at first by Finny. Finny is not an average 14 year old and the events surrounding her life are anything but dull. I will admit ...more
Jessica (thebluestocking)
Aug 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jessica (thebluestocking) by: Trish
Shelves: review-copy
I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.

We first meet Finny as a pert 14-year-old who feels misunderstood by her peacemaker mother, pompous father, and people-pleaser brother, Sylvan. Running away from home one day, Finny meets Earl, whose easygoing personality and unconventional household speak to Finny. When her parents find out about her relationship with Earl, they pack her off to boarding school. We follow along as Finny grows into adulthood, as
Jason Pettus
Jul 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

It's easy to see as you're reading Finny, the debut novel of the academically-trained Justin Kramon (an alum of the Iowa Writers' Workshop whose short work has appeared in Glimmer Train among others), that he means for this to be a quirky-cute multigenerational character-based dramedy, and that he most lik
Oct 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was selected for one of the real-life book clubs I'm in and the author is coming to talk to us as a group - always great to meet other authors and hear what went into their writing etc.

I wish Good Reads would allow partial stars - I would definitely give this a 3.5 or maybe even a 3.75 - but I'm a "tough critic". 4's are hard for me to pass out and 5's almost unheard of - so take that into consideration - a 3 on this site means "I liked it" and I did.

My biggest problem was I had a hard tim
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
From author

As I wandered aimlessly through the crowd at the Book Blogger Convention Reception in NYC back in May, collecting business cards and finally putting faces to the names of bloggers I had been interacting with for months, I had the pleasure of meeting Justin Kramon - debut author of Finny.

It was that sort of bumbling, awkward I-turned-around-and-he-turned-around-and-now-we-are-facing-one-another moments in the middle of the conference room, those moments that are more common than not in
Sep 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Justin Kramon delivers an amazing and all-encompassing story in Finny.

One of the things that I noticed, from the first sentence, was the delightful prose and smooth writing style of the author. The main character of Finny is a delightfully engaging and a marvelously captivating character that readers will easily and quickly be drawn to. This is the story of a young girl, Finny, who is a bit of a misfit, especially within her family's world. Not obsessed with social presence like her mother, nor
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
It's a really good and rare thing when you read the teaser of a book and think, "This will be amazing!" and then it actually lives up to the hype in your head and actually is amazing. That's what happened with Justin Kramon's debut novel, Finny.

Delphine "Finny" Short is a quirky, smart-alecky fourteen-year-old. And when I read in the teaser paragraph that this novel was going to follow this precocious character for twenty years of her life as she meets all kinds of eccentric, interesting charact
Mar 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The thing that I like best about reading fiction is that it transports me away from reality - things are sharper, clearer, more colorful, and definitely more meaningful than real life. The more chances I get to experience different lives, the better, which is why I appreciated getting this advance copy from the publisher.

Unfortunately, Kramon tells a story that could have happened to any of us, and he tells it in a way that is not terribly original. The thing that sets it apart from being boring
Lydia Presley
Aug 15, 2010 rated it liked it
FINNY is the story of Finny Short - an unfortunate name for a girl who has quite the unfortunate life, all told.

At first I thought this was going to be a coming-of-age story. The first section of the book had all of the markings of it. Young girl in a strange family, boy next door (who I got the impression was some kind of a dwarf? but he wasn't or something - still confused on that). Each family member had their own little quirks, their ways of being different.

Then young Finny gets sent off to
Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Finny is a wonderful novel about a young girl named Finny Short. We first meet her as a smart-alecky 14 year old. She has a pretty typical life with an overbearing mother who is obsessed with manners and what other people think and a father who doesn't talk as much as he walks around spouting off not-so-famous quotes. Overall, she seems pretty bored with her life.

Then she meets some neighbors Earl Henckel and and his eccentric father, a piano teacher. She and Earl fall in love and she spends mo
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was ok

Finny!! A 14 year old girl who is socially awkward. She is a girl who has her own opnion about… hmm… stuff!!! The writing was good. But the whole book didn’t make an impresson on me. She was "kind" of cute, “Kind” of awkward, Kind of attension seeking who has a father who lectures a lot and a mother who is what I understood as a “society mother” and a brother who is normal!!! (am doing a bad job trying to explain).
I dint understand whats was so special about Finny. There was nothing unique about
Diane Ferbrache
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I found myself smiling and thinking "WOW! What a great sentence!" many times. The author had me crying and then laughing on the same page. I love that!

Finny (short for Delphine) Short is 14 when we first meet her. She lives with her father who loves to spout quotes from notable people, her mother and brother. One day, she meets a boy. Earl lives in a small brown house up the road. They take a walk and fall in love -- a love that spans a number of years (we're not quite
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Haiku Review:

Attention ladies!
Selfish male artists are top!
Unlike all things femme.

Like the haiku review? See two others. (Link will be live October 13th, 2016).

*initial thoughts*
"I'm a 29 year old man who's going to write about a girl/woman loving a self-absorbed useless boy/man who treats her poorly in that fedora wearing fake arteest way AND I'm going to literally skip over any phases of her life where he isn't in the picture by being like oh these were just scenes and really rather dull so h
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
In general, I liked this book, but I do think it has issues. The central cast of the characters are interesting and (mostly) charming, and I liked them, but the rest of the characters are bizarre bundles of aggressive in-your-face quirkiness, in a very unpalatable way (funeral home scene, I'm looking at you. Or Prince's sister.). The book rambles and meanders a bit - I can't decide if that's supposed to be a slice-of-life this-is-how-the-real-world-is thing, or if it's just unfocused and needs a ...more
Mar 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, first-reads
I won this book on first reads giveaway! I love having this pre-release book, it make me feel like I'm in on some secret : ) This is a good, solid book. It covers an interesting portion of Finny's life as she grows into herself. The characters are relatable, I think most every girl has had a friend "Judith" in their lives, especially in middle/high school. I love Mr. Henckel and his "smile frowns"! ...more
Feb 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I found Finny to be an enjoyable easy read. I kept wondering thru the whole book how a male author was able to follow a young girls life thru 20 years. This is one of the things that kept me so interested in reading more of the story.
I did find myself laughing out loud at some of the antics of the characters. The story settings varied widely and I never found myself bored during the entire book.
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm not quite sure why this book received so many negative reviews. I loved it and I couldn't put it down. Rarely does a novel come along without one single boring character. Every one of the characters in this book (even the minor characters) had their own little quirks, and I felt like I connected with them all. Lovely! ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cat. by: Amy
Shelves: fiction
What a lovely little book! There's not a lot of major plot here: we meet and follow Finny Short through her childhood and teenage years and watch as she grows into her 30s. The people around her are regular people. She has a great deal of heartache, but is generally a kindhearted, serious person who pulls no punches and has a sassy wit about her. ...more
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
i got the chance to read this book and meet Justin when he came to visit a book club I was in. First of all, Justin you are great.

I loved this book. while there were sometimes that i felt it dragged a bit I was generally enjoying reading everything. I connected with all the characters.

I enjoyed this and have reread it many times
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
I had a really hard time with this book -- the voice alternately felt hyper-real and patently false. I kept at it, but was ultimately let down. Some images and characters are sticking with me, though. A tough one to recommend.
Sep 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
I absolutely adore this book. It's so beautifully written and is such a lovely story. I fell in love with every character and all of the attention to detail. I didn't want Finny's story to end! I highly recommend this book. Simply wonderful. ...more
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookclub
I liked the idea. I didn't think it was wonderfully executed for my taste. ...more
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-readings
I like Finny. Lovely told. I enjoyed reading it.
Marilyn F
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I would have given 3.5 stars if I could, not quite a 4 but there was some good writing in there that was more than a 3 :-).

A worthwhile book I think, an enjoyable read.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
funny coming of age story
some parts were written in that beautiful lovely way that genuinely reflects something you've personally also experienced as deeply true

really liked it :)
the falling in love part felt so real/honest
read it in one day

1 star off because the difference in thinking/maturity at different ages didn't seem super significant. there were definitely events of growth but at 14 she seemed younger - more like ~11. and at 34 she didn't seem much different from end of college, 22.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
delightfully odd with an interesting style of narration. it took me awhile to get into this one, but then the pages flew by. I just closed this book with a smile on my face. it was an honest portrayal of people, as individuals, flaws and all.
May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, but I always felt like it was a man writing about a female character (which it is!).
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Finny is the story of Delphine Short, better known as Finny, whose adventurous odyssey of a life spans twenty eventful years from the time she's fourteen. She is an independent no-nonsense girl - the kind of girl I secretly envied in the playground. When her aunt pinched her cheeks, she would pinch her aunt back on the breast. Her father took every opportunity available to speak quotes and then solemnly proclaim the name of the person responsible for the quote. Her mother gave protocol advice fi ...more
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Justin Kramon is the author of the novel Finny, published by Random House in July, 2010.

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has published stories in Glimmer Train, Story Quarterly, Boulevard, Fence, TriQuarterly, and others. He has received honors from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America, Best American Short Stories, the Hawthornden International Writers’ Fellowship, and the Boglia

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