Mother and wife Marion Palm has never excelled at much in her life. She’s middle aged, overweight and awkward. So when she finds a knack for embezzling, she runs with it – literally. After stealing $180,000 from the private school where she works, she abandons her posh Brooklyn brownstone and her family. Her original plan was to make an escape to a far flung place, but she cannot seem to get beyond Brooklyn. There, she meets a lady who gives Marion shelter and a job cleaning the home of a wealthy Russian family. While she’s wiping down their counter tops, she’s also scheming of ways to wipe out their bank accounts.
Each chapter cleverly unveils a bit more about the people in Marion’s life. There’s Nathan, her trust fund receiving husband and poet, who seems more concerned with his online persona than his family. There’s Marion’s school age daughters, Ginny and Jane, who turn to imaginary friends and illegal substances after their mother leaves. There are also the employees of the school where she worked who are all panicked about the upcoming audit and what it might reveal.
The Misfortune of Marion Palm is a charismatic tale of family dysfunction and personal crisis. Even though Marion commits some heinous crimes, her desperate fantasies make her more the object of pity than scorn. Similar in plot and tone to the bestselling novel Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, this debut is sure to be a hit with fans of fast-paced, modern dark comedies.