Dave Bry’s first book is so brilliant in its simplicity it’s pretty astounding no one has thought of it before – the apology genre. Though his execution is so deft it’s almost certain if anyone had attempted this before it would not be as nearly memorable. Yes, I realize there is nothing new about self-confessional essays, but an entire book of apologies? I think we’re breaking new ground here folks.
Public Apology is exactly as billed: an apology… for many things. Bry, a music writer, digs back deep in his past and makes amends for everything from singing “Stairway to Heaven” in the ear of his partner at an eighth grade dance to tossing beer cans over the fence of Jon Bon Jovi’s New Jersey home, an example of a fantastic non-apology apology (“You know how sometimes you tell the day by the bottle that you drink, and then other times when you’re alone and all you do is think? Well, sometimes when you’re seventeen and a world-famous-rock star who is famously from the state where you live but whose music you strongly dislike buys a fancy house on a cul-de-sac in the next town over…”). The list continues, including one to “Sean Something” for having sex with his girlfriend on Senior Skip Day.
Though the bulk of the book is dedicated to deliciously snarky mea culpas, there are a few very heartfelt apologies hiding within (the first that comes to mind is dedicated to Bry’s father for not being there immediately as he was calling out, dying on an airplane).
With Public Apology, Bry has created the definitive book for a genre that had yet to exist. Until now.
Public Apology by Dave Bry Book Review/Hardcover/272 pages/Grand Central Publishing/2013