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Present Value


Present Value

Sometimes the perfect life isn't so perfect. Just ask Fritz
Brubaker, Senior Assistant Controller at the toy company Playtime.
He'll tell you. He had it all: a beautiful wife with a high-powered
career as an attorney, two terrific kids enrolled in the best
schools, expensive cars, designer clothes, and a house so big and
impressive that it's referred to as The Palazzo. But none of that
seems to matter when you're facing prison time for insider trading
and your marriage and family are falling apart. How could the
American dream go so horribly awry? How could everything be so
wrong when Fritz has spent his life doing everything just

It doesn't help that all of his co-workers are concerned only with
the bottom line and with placing blame for the Playtime's less than
desirable financial condition on anyone but themselves. Or that
they're all too eager to assume Fritz is guilty of the crime with
which he's been charged.

It doesn't help that his wife, the ever-critical Linda LeBrecque,
is surgically attached to her Blackberry remote wireless, in a
constant frenzy to check messages and stay in the loop. Or that
she's having an affair with one of her fellow lawyers. Or that, due
to her embarrassment at Fritz's erratic behavior, she has
completely abandoned him in his hour of need.

It doesn't help that his beloved daughter Kristin, with whom he
used to have an incredible bond, has begun treating him as if he
were an idiot, and his son Michael has pretty much bailed on the
entire family scene altogether. No, none of that helps at

What does help is stepping back and looking at the empty shell that
his marriage and his life have become. It helps that Fritz has
suddenly developed a strange inner dialogue that seems to guide him
to the path he's supposed to be on. And it helps that he has
captured the attention of a perky younger redhead who can't seem to
get enough of him.

The biggest help comes in looking at his own contribution to
finding himself where he is today and through searching valiantly
for the way to a better life, one with more meaning.

Sabin Willett, writer and attorney-at-law, will keep you turning
pages in anticipation and provide you with a funny and ironic look
at what is considered success in corporate America today. However,
the overwhelming cast of characters can be sometimes difficult to
follow as we're flipped from one scene to the next. There also
seems to be some twists and turns that are inserted simply in the
interest of adding action rather than contributing to the
furtherance of the plot. Willett still gives us a fascinating and
unusual look at a family who seems to have it all but for whom
success has come at a high price, and he's right on in his
observations about Americans in search of the almighty

I'd be willing to bet that more than one upwardly mobile American
who reads this novel will catch a glimpse of himself or herself in
it. The question I'm wondering about though is, will they take the
moral of this story to heart?

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 22, 2011

Present Value
by Sabin Willett

  • Publication Date: September 2, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Villard
  • ISBN-10: 1400060869
  • ISBN-13: 9781400060863