The protagonist, Finbar Dolan, is Don Draper stripped of all his glamour, success and pomade. What Fin, a midlevel copywriter, does have on Don is a sense of humor.... Framed around a surprisingly sweet romance, as well as Fin’s eventual confrontation with his painful family history, this debut offers a pleasing lightness-to-heart ratio.
New York Times
Peppered with colorful impressions of New York City life, Truth in Advertising is a quick-witted, wry sendup of the advertising industry and corporate culture…[it] delivers a clear-eyed, sympathetic story about complex family ties and the possibility of healing.
John Wilwol - Washington Post
[Kenney’s] insights are dead-on.... [His] plot is perfectly balanced between the insanity of both work and family, and the ending is satisfying without being saccharine.... Engaging and entertaining.... The joy is in the journey, of spending time with a character that is, at times, annoying and thoughtful, arrogant and scared, childish and mature— in other words, someone like the rest of us.
Dallas Morning News
Truth in Advertising has a cinematic sense of motion.... [Kenney is] a naturally comic author who has created a likeable narrator in Fin Dolan.... Humor springs from a deep well of family-induced anguish, and soon enough comedy and tragedy are braided throughout the narrative.
This debut novel reads at times like a laugh-out-loud standup routine. What sustains it, though, is much more substantial: an engaging, believable plot, a fascinating if jaundiced view inside the contemporary world of New York advertising, and most of all, a lead character you're glad you get to know.... It's a measure of Kenney's writing talent that the regular gusts of delicious, smart-alecky ad agency banter among Dolan and his witty comrades and the painful-to-read scenes depicting the toxic relations among siblings feel equally real in this novel.... [A] smart, cinematic story.
Kenney, who’s worked as a copywriter for 17 years, mines this rich territory for satire.... Fin’s struggle to understand his dad brings a layer of emotional complexity to the tale.... Kenney’s novel wrestles with deep questions: What makes a good man? What makes a good life? What should one’s contribution to the world be?
The debut novel from New Yorker humorist and former advertising copywriter Kenney is a hilarious ad-world satire and a modest family drama. Finbar Dolan has a successful career in commercials, managing a diaper account for a big New York agency. Otherwise, Fin’s life is a mess...and [when] his abusive, long-lost father turns up in the hospital, Fin’s universe is tipped on its ear. The advertising insider lore and commercial shoot set pieces are golden; the family drama is less successful. ... As a satire, the novel is willing to bite off an ambitious chunk of popular culture, but as a human drama, it chooses to make safe choices. Even so, much is a comic tour de force.
(Starred review.) The dilemma of the storyteller powerless to shape his own story gets a beautiful new spin in this first novel about an adman facing a family crisis....The narrator...is protagonist Finbar Dolan, 39-year-old senior copywriter at a top-tier New York agency.... Now, his oldest brother, Eddie, is calling to say their father, unseen for 25 years, is in the hospital, a heart attack.... With wry humor, always on point, Kenney guides us through the maze of work, family, love (elusive) and friendship (a lifesaver). This is an outstanding debut.
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