The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton

The Misfortune of Marion Palm

Emily Culliton

A wonderful and sharp debut novel that has been declared a "Summer Must-Read Book!" by Entertainment Weekly.

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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.

Advance Galley Reviews

I expected this book to be action-packed, thoughtful, funny, anything really than what it was. It was just plain boring and unimaginative.  I pretty much hated all the characters and the story unfortunately, didn't go anywhere.

To tell the truth this book was hard to continue I couldn't relate to the characters, I definitely would say not my favorite I mean I had to take so many breaks because I lost interest.

Not sure exactly what to think about this one. The writing was very interesting. I didn't connect with or like any of the characters though. The story line was also interesting but didn't move me in any meaningful way. I don't know. I liked it but I didn't. I'm definitely on the fence about it.

Marion Palm and her husband are both rather despicable, for very different reasons, and they are further surrounded by pretty despicable adults. In this web of distasteful people, even the couple's children are portrayed as innocents, perhaps, but with deeply rooted issues that will make them, it is hinted, rather distasteful adults in turn. In the entire book, there was only one character that was relateable, a nameless detective who took up maybe 15 pages or so of the entire novel. So then the question becomes: is this a great enough book to survive the unpleasantness of its characters? To make you root for the criminals? It's clear that other readers have decided yes, but I felt the answer was no. And that's the difference between my rating and theirs, I suppose. I just didn't enjoy any of my time with the characters, and there was no overarching message, no great themes, no poetic arc that would make the book otherwise worthwhile. The writing style is jerky and jumps from one point of view to another. Whether or not a reader enjoys the book probably has a lot to do with how much they agree with the author's assertion, made early in the book and then over and over again (as if repetition would make it true), that women who embezzle are doing it to fight injustice. Marion Palm feels slighted by the world, so she embezzles, and that is her fight against great wrongs. I just don't buy it. Which leaves Marion as simply a pathetic figure with clepto-like tendencies. Eh. I'll pass. I got a free copy to review from First to Read.

This book was difficult to get through yet I wasn't able to not finish it. Marion Palm is a woman I could never identify with. She is a thief and abandons her family. Unimaginable in my mind. The story is kind of choppy. Not a writing style I've ever read before.

I enjoyed the author's writing style. It was full of quick wit and some humour. Marion is a criminal and her misdeeds lead her into some rather interesting situations. How she works her way throught it is an entertaining story.

The plot of this story sounds good, embezzle money then leave the family behind. However, I could not stay with this book.

For someone that is passionate about quirkiness, this was a dream read. Marion has compulsions to embezzle and lets this compulsion to lead her away from her home, husband, and children. She has a lot of inconsistencies about her character that set her apart. Nathan tries to keep the pieces together while enjoying his affairs. The Palm daughters are each taken on their own adventures and occupations. Even the handling of the embezzlement by the school is quirky! I had so many good chuckles out of this book and will be watching this author for years to come.


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