Public Apology writer makes letter format a memoir
This book cover image released by Grand Central Publishing shows "Public Apology: In Which a Man Grapples With a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time." by Dave Bry. (AP Photo/Grand Central Publishing)
NEW YORK (AP) — Dave Bry is a professional apologizer, first in a Dear (Person He's Wronged) column online and now a letter-by-letter memoir of messing up and making amends.
Out Tuesday, Bry's "Public Apology" is stuffed with wrongs, from the foibles of an anxious, surly tween on the New Jersey shore to the regrets of a 20-year-old who drinks and drugs too much, losing his father to cancer at a crucial time in his growing up.
Could you fill a book with apologies? Bry has no trouble.
Through high school in Little Silver, N.J., with his little sister and psychologist, ex-hippie parents, Bry spends a lot of time apologizing for bad behavior at school as he set a record for detentions and tried to lose his virginity. He succeeds with the girlfriend of a classmate. And he's sorry.
Girls figure big into Bry's apologies. At Connecticut College, where it took him six years to graduate, he once left a drawer full of a girl's love letters behind after she left her school and friends behind to join him there.
A victim of the recession, the 42-year-old Brooklyn dad of an 8-year-old son started writing his Public Apology column at the culture site The Awl in 2009, as he lost a magazine job and got his freelance writing career off the ground. About 40 percent of the book is repurposed columns.
Bry (pronounced bree) hopes others will join him in apologizing — on a Tumblr called the Public Apology Project. Ahead of the book, from Grand Central Publishing, just a handful of people had taken up Bry on his offer of anonymity to set things right in their own lives.
This undated publicity photo released by Grand Central Publishing shows Dave Bry, author of "Public Apology: In Which a Man Grapples With a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time." (AP Photo/Grand Central Publishing)
Here are five questions for Dave Bry:
AP: Your chosen format is very 12-steppy. Have you ever been involved in a 12-step program? Did the method influence you at all?