Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Public Apology" by David Bry (2013)

This may be one of the most unusual books I have ever read. Based, as it is, on the premise that we all go through life offending other people, sometimes without knowing it, the author takes the reader on a tour de force of all the misgivings he has stored up in his life. The subtitle of the book is “In Which a Man Grapples with a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time.”

And that’s a fairly accurate description of this sometimes hilarious, and other times revealing look at not only the authors most embarrassing moments, but also a reminder to us all of the times we have done, or said, stupid things which we wish we could take back.

Beginning with Junior High School, which is where most of us begin to experience these awkward moments, and on through early adulthood, Mr. Bry has a fascinating array of embarrassing moments to draw upon for your entertainment.

Ranging from unintended insults to missed romantic opportunities, and even encompassing some public mooning on a cable car in California, Mr. Bry attempts to apologize to everyone he may have offended; or embarrassed; in his lifetime. Some are named outright, as are the stories of misadventure during his junior high school years, which is where we all make many of our most foolish, but sometimes funny, social faux pas.

From those awkward moments at age 12 come more embarrassing and humorous tales of life in high school; or, as the author puts it; “…when being drunk becomes the excuse for everything, even though it is never a legitimate excuse for anything.” These moments encompass sports, music, girlfriends and alcohol.

The next section is all about Mr. Bry’s adventures in college, which he refers to as “…the six longest years of my life.” During this period he apologizes to roommates, professors, and even his own father who died on an airplane after a family trip.

From school to family and friends, and then on into his adult life, Mr. Bry has been laboring under the weight of a chain of guilt which rivals those heavy links carried by Charles Dickens woeful character Jacob Marley. If you feel at all guilty about anything foolish which you have done in your life, then this is the book for you. If nothing else, reading about the author’s experiences in this regard will make it easier for you to forgive your own. 

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