The Misfortune of Marion Palm

The Misfortune of Marion Palm

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"A wildly entertaining debut about a Brooklyn Heights wife and mother who has embezzled a small fortune from her children's private school and makes a run for it, leaving behind her trust fund poet husband, his maybe-secret lover, her two daughters, and a school board who will do anything to find her. Marion Palm prefers not to think of herself as a thief but rather "a woman who embezzles." Over the years she has managed to steal $180,000 from her daughters' private school, money that has paid for European vacations, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, and perpetually unused state-of-the-art exercise equipment. But, now, when the school faces an audit, Marion pulls piles of rubber-banded cash from their basement hiding places and flees, leaving her family to grapple with the baffled detectives, the irate school board, and the mother-shaped hole in their house. Told from the points of view of Nathan, Marion's husband, heir to a long-diminished family fortune; Ginny, Marion's teenage daughter who falls helplessly in love at the slightest provocation; Jane, Marion's youngest who is obsessed with a missing person of her own; and Marion herself, on the lam--and hiding in plain sight"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781524731908
Branch Call Number: Fic Cull
Characteristics: xiii, 281 pages ; 22 cm


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Jul 30, 2018

If you're a fan of Maria Semple and Gabrielle Zevin, this book's tone and style will appeal to you. Written in short chapters with alternate points of view, the reader learns how Marion Palm resorted to a life of crime to raise herself out of poverty. When her world threatens to collapse, Marion runs and manages to reinvent herself yet again. Although the novel has an epilogue, it still begs for a sequel. It would also make a great movie.

Feb 12, 2018

I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I thoroughly disliked all of the characters and found them all to be selfish, horrible people, and I was not able to get past that enough to become invested enough to care about what happened to them.

Sep 12, 2017

A dark comic look at a woman whose embezzlement has gotten out of hand. Now she's on the run and discovers that her "skills" might just make her more employable than she'd imagined.

Aug 30, 2017

This is probably the first book that I've read where I disliked all the characters and yet still enjoyed the book. Not being attached to any of the characters helped me sit back and just enjoy watching this family unravel. The sharp and witty writing also helped to keep me engaged and entertained by the story. I would recommend this for anyone who also finds themselves weirdly fascinated by dysfunctional families!

Aug 24, 2017

Interesting characters. The chapters are short and it is a fast read.

Jul 24, 2017

Marion Palm is on the lam. After embezzling $180,000 from her daughters' private school, Marion has heard rumors that the IRS will be auditing the school. With a backpack full of cash Marion leaves, walking away from her family and life so she won't be caught, and hiding in ... Brooklyn. It's a work in progress. She leaves behind her trust fund-poet husband Nathan, her teenage daughter Ginny, and 8 year old Jane. The reader hears from all these characters, from detective investigating her disappearance, and anonymous reports from the meetings of the school board of trustees. Each character's voice feels distinct as they each grapple with their own set of problems which are partly related to Marion but not totally. The writing is pithy, and the chapters short, which makes it hard to put down. For me this is the height of summer reading - fun yet filling

Jul 04, 2017

Marion Palm has been embezzling money from her daughters' school, and, one day, picks up and leaves her family. Day by day, we follow her husband, Nathan, her children, Ginny and Jane, Marion's colleagues and the administrators at the school, the detective on the case, and others in a wonderful and motley crew of characters as they struggle to figure out what happened to Marion. Virtually no one in this novel is particularly likable, and that is absolutely part of the charm.

Readers may feel compelled to connect this novel with WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE, and I would simply warn that the humor and levity that many found so appealing about that book is absent in MARION PALM. Instead, through spare, stripped-down prose, which purposefully lets the reader feel like a voyeur looking in on the slow burn train wreck that is the Palm family, we learn, layer by layer, more about Marion Palm, with each small reveal so satisfying in creating the larger picture. Even better: the ending is absolute perfection.


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