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In Which a Man Grapples with a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time

by David Bry

Pub Date: March 19th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1455509164
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

A New York–based blogger's memoir as told through a series of epistolary essays that apologize to individuals he knew as an adolescent and adult for his bad behavior toward them.

In this book, self-revelation is inextricably bound with contrition. Bry begins his narrative in junior high, a time when, among other things, he offered two of his classmates and fellow "dorks" fake drugs and stole beer from the refrigerator of friends' parents so that his peers would see him as "cool." As he grew older, his immature behavior developed a distinctly darker, more self-destructive edge. He drank heavily, experimented with marijuana, cocaine and other drugs, betrayed friends and disappointed those closest to him, including his terminally ill father. On the day he died, Bry did not hear his cries for help and came to him only after it was too late. "I felt like a little boy who had just broken something important,” he writes. Even after his father's death, Bry continued drinking, smoking pot and being a "dick" to everyone. He nearly failed out of college but managed to graduate and stumble into an internship at a music magazine in New York. He passed his 20s in a stupor, yet still found love with a woman who was as "generously accepting of his lifestyle choices" as she was of his being a sweatpants-wearing slob. The form Bry uses to tell the story gets tiresome, as does his constant apologizing to everyone (including people with whom he had only glancing contact) for his misdeeds. However, his candor and genuine desire to look at the ugliest parts of his personality and past do succeed in creating a compelling portrait of a human "work in progress."

Compassionate but repetitive.