Friday, May 14, 2010

APOLOGIZE, APOLOGIZE!: REVIEW, READER'S GUIDE, AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
APOLOGIZE, APOLOGIZE!
BY ELIZABETH KELLY

ABOUT THE BOOK:

APOLOGIZE, APOLOGIZE! takes us into the perversely charmed world of the Flanagans and their son, Collie (who has the questionable good fortune to be named after a breed of dog). Coming of age on Martha's Vineyard, he struggles to find his place within his wildly wealthy, hyper-articulate, resolutely crazy Irish-Catholic family: a philandering father, incorrigible brother, pigeon-racing uncle, radical activist mother, and domineering media mogul grandfather (accused of being a murderer by Collie's mother).

About Author

Elizabeth Kelly is a magazine editor and award-winning journalist with several Canadian National Magazine Awards and nominations to her credit. Her writing has appeared in many prominent Canadian newspapers and magazines. Her column work was selected to appear in the 2003 edition of Writing Prose, Oxford Press.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Elizabeth Kelly is a magazine editor and award-winning journalist with several Canadian National Magazine Awards and nominations to her credit. Her writing has appeared in many prominent Canadian newspapers and magazines. Her column work was selected to appear in the 2003 edition of Writing Prose, Oxford Press.

READING GROUP GUIDE:

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1) Throughout this account of Collie Flanagan’s life (so far), he appears to be the only conventional—or perhaps even sane—member of his family. However, the novel is told from his perspective. Do you feel like you can trust what he’s saying?

2) What do you think of Collie’s mother? Does she seem to have lived a life of passion, or is she defined only by her rebellion against her aristocratic roots?

3) Should Collie have gone in after Bingo and the others, knowing as he did that there was no hope?

4) In one interview, Elizabeth Kelly referred to Bingo as “representative of full-blown adolescence, but in all its glory,” and as something of a heroic character as well. What do you make of him?

5) Elizabeth Kelly has clearly had a lot of fun creating the hilarious and often manic characters at the heart of this novel. How did you react to the various Flanagan family blowouts? Did you more often cringe or laugh out loud?

6) Talk about the role of money in this novel: who has it and who doesn’t; how it can be a motivator, or stunt one’s ambitions; how it insulates the Flanagans, yet forces them into the limelight; and so on.

7) “Dignity is the last refuge of scoundrels,” Collie’s father was known to say, and he certainly was one to put himself into undignified positions, despite his charm and sharp clothes. What do you make of him as a man, and as a father?

8) Who is your favorite character in this novel, and why?

9) Collie and Bingo have a relationship that’s not always straightforward, yet at its heart is a strong sibling love. What does each expect, and receive (or not), from the other?

10) What was Collie hoping to achieve in El Salvador? Did he change as a result of his experiences there?

11) What are Collie Flanagan’s personal strengths? Were there small events that stood out for you as monumental in terms of proving his character?

12) More than any other member of the Flanagans, Collie has a close—if complex—relationship with his grandfather, Peregrine Lowell. Why is that so? How has their relationship developed by the end of the novel?

13) The Flanagans inhabit a world of elite privilege, yet are so self-absorbed you can’t help but wonder whether they’d even notice if the rest of humanity ceased to exist. Does Collie rise above all that, or is he just like the rest of them?

14) Collie’s father has a knack for showing up wildly drunk for even the most staid of events, including the funerals held for his wife and son. Talk about how his disappearances and arrivals function in the novel.

15) Whenever anyone talks to Collie about the events of the day Bingo and his mother died, they always get the details wrong. What is Kelly saying about living up to the expectations of others in this novel? Should Collie have stood up for himself more often?

16) The Flanagans are a wild and wildly humorous bunch, and even their seemingly unwarranted jabs at Collie are terrific. Discuss the role of cutting humor and over-the-top judgment in the novel.

17) At the end of the novel, Collie appears to have come to terms with his family, or at least seems to have achieved some measure of peace. What does the future hold for Collie Flanagan?


REVIEW:


APOLOGIZE, APOLOGIZE by Elizabeth Kelly is the story of Collie Flanagan who grows up and comes into his own in a pretty dysfunctional Irish-Catholic family and is told from his point of view. Although there is quite a bit of over-the-top behavior, I had to remind myself that this was how Collie perceived things. Although a lot of the dysfunction in this family is somewhat unconventional to me, it is also quite believable the way it is written. The story talks an awful lot about the family and how the wealthy on Martha's Vineyard live. The culture alone that they live in is relevant to their behavior and the fact that bad things keep happening is also not unheard of. The way that the parents show favoritism, for instance, is sadly common in all parts of society.

Most of this story is about love/hate relationships and although it was an interesting book and well written, it wasn't one I was crazy about. I did read it rather quickly, and had a good laugh at some of the situations. I wouldn't say I was sorry I read it after all Bingo (not me) was part of the story, but it just didn't strike the right cord with me. Perhaps it is because it was hard for me to relate to some of the things that Collie described and I think I expected more from this book because I had been wanting to read it for so long. Maybe my expectations were too high but I suggest you read it and see what you think of it. My book club is going to be discussing it next week and perhaps they saw something in the book that will make me look at it in a different light. It did stir all kinds of emotions in me and Kelly's writing is well done...perhaps it was just an off day for me.


GIVEAWAY
THANKS TO VALERIE AND THE
HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, I HAVE
THREE COPIES OF THIS INTERESTING
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY!



--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER
+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT THIS BOOK IN THE INFORMATION AND REVIEW ABOVE

+1 MORE ENTRY:
BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND THEN COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK

+1 MORE ENTRY:
COMMENT ON IF YOU ARE A GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT FOLLOWER AND IF YOU AREN'T, YOU CAN BECOME ONE AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE (AIMING FOR 700 SOON?)


GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, MAY 31

GOOD LUCK!

49 comments:

Jo-Jo said...

I also follow you through google.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Jo-Jo said...

A disfunctional family at Martha's Vineyard sounds interesting to me. Please enter me.
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traveler said...

Thanks for this giveaway. This family and their relationships interests me even though it is somewhat unique. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Colleen Turner said...

I am a GFC follower!
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

Wow, naming your son Collie, that is just cruel! I am hoping his name is Colin and Collie is just a nickname. My parents called me Collie sometimes when I was a kid, but that is because my name is Colleen. Sounds like a great book!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Little Tesoro said...

This book sounds interesting - as does the name Collie :)

I'm a new follower and would love to be entered. Thank you!

lisa.2713 at gmail dot com

Bethie said...

I follow on GFC

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

I think the family sounds facinating. I always say there is no such thing as a normal family.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Laura said...

Please enter me. I am a google follower.
Laura
laura.leahj@gmail.com

Kristen said...

I love stories about complicated families! Hope to win! :)

couponboss at gmail dot com

bermudaonion said...

I didn't love this book either. Don't enter me.

Margie said...

Follow you via GFC
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

Sounds like it might be an interesting book with unique characters. Probably situations unfamiliar to me too, but good to see it from the outside.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Jenna said...

Im a follower

papajm25{AT}gmail{DOT}com

Jenna said...

dysfunctional families are always interesting! Id love to win

papajm25{AT}gmail{DOT}com

Martha Lawson said...

I follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Martha Lawson said...

I found it interesting that someone would name their child "Collie"!! This book has been on my radar for awhile now. I'd love to be entered to win.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

debbie said...

I am a gfc follower.
debbie
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I found it interesting that the main character was named after a dog. I hate to say this, but I got to name my sister, and I choose to name her after our families dog.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Amy said...

I think it's interesting and bizarre that the main character is named after a breed of dog. I am also perplexed that the family members pick on him quite a bit and I wonder why. Please enter me in the giveaway for this
book!

~ Amy
Aimala127@gmail.com

Amy said...

I am a Google Friend Connect follower!


~ Amy
Aimala127@gmail.com

Janna said...

This sounds like an interesting book. Please enter me. I've been a follower of your blog for sevearl weeks.

janna_voss AT yahoo DOT com

Linda Kish said...

GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I liked the description if the dysfunctional family.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

By Book or By Crook said...

I am a GFC follower

aksimmo at brainerd dot net

By Book or By Crook said...

A dysfunctional family? That sounds like mine. Please enter me!

aksimmo at brainerd dot net

Christine H said...

Yes I'm a GFC follower

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

http://twitter.com/Romantic73/status/14102058770

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

Sounds like a book thats different dfrom anything I read before. I'm curious abo9ut life on Martha's Vineyard. I'd like to read it.

chirth7@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

I'm a GFC follower

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://twitter.com/Grandmamaof10/status/14169487190
shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

I've never been to marthas vineyard sounds like some place I'd like to read about. all I know of it, doesn't Martha Stewart live there?

shundelt@yahoo.com

Debi said...

I find his name interesting and I would love to read about the Martha's Vineyard wealthy family.

debraldufek AT hotmail DOT com

Jo-Jo said...

I blogged about your contest here.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

LAMusing said...

I follow on GFC

adrianecoros(at)gmail.com

LAMusing said...

The characters sound "quirky" -which I love.

adrianecoros(at)gmail.com

Margie said...

I found BWB's fan page!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Team JC said...

It sounds like a relatable story to me. I would really love to win this one!!!
Thanks for the chance!
poolplayer712 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Team JC said...

I am a GFC follower!
poolplayer712 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Arch said...

Growing up in a disfunctional family makes up for an intriguing and interesting story....and I kinda liked the name Collie... thats a nice and adorable dog breed...

Please enter me in this giveaway...

archanaskorner(at)gmail(dot)com

Thanks
Arch

debbi said...

the story sounds good and the family interests me....

Anonymous said...

I like to read about people different than me.

Christie
ropp dot 5 at wright dot edu

Elise said...

GFC follower
caliblue7 at gmail dot com

Elise said...

I would not like to be named like a dog. The book seems interesting with all the dysfuntion in the family.
caliblue7 at gmail dot com

Diana said...

I follow
dianarod23 at gmail dot com

Diana said...

You mentioned the book is about love/hate relationships. Sounds like my family.
dianarod23 at gmail dot com

Dakota said...

GFC follower
dakotasky55 at gmail dot com

Dakota said...

Just by the title and description it seems like a lot of fighting and dysfunction going on in the book. This is probably an entertaining family to read about.
dakotasky55 at gmail dot com

Amy said...

I tweeted:
http://twitter.com/Amestir/status/15131370236!


Aimala127@gmail.com

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