I have very mixed feelings about Unfinished Business . Lee Kravitz' memoir is subtitled One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do The Right Things. The year was extraordinary for him, and parts of the book were moving. However, Kravitz had a number of advantages going into this year.
At fifty-five, Kravitz was fired from his job in the publishing industry. He admits he saw it coming, but he was a workaholic, and he didn't do anything to change the situation when he could. Once he had time on his hands, he came to an admirable decision. He was going to devote a year to trying to take care of "loose emotional ends," unfinished business.
In the course of the year, Kravitz made ten life journeys to bring closure, and try to make things right in his life. He came from a family that had been torn apart by illness, loss of money, and family bitterness. Some of his goals involved bringing family members closer together. He looked for, and found, his Aunt Fern who had been institutionalized, suffering from schizophrenia. He tried to reunite his father and his father's brother, along with a cousin. He made a condolence call on a friend who had tragically lost a daughter. He found a couple friends from his young adult years. My favorite story involved finding, and thanking, his favorite teacher.
I'm the first to admit that the faults I find with this book may be from my own feelings. Kravitz encourages everyone to take steps and reach out. He's right. However, he had the money to do this, even though he was unemployed for a year, and had a family. He still had a house in the country. He still had the money to fly around and visit the people he needed to talk to. The book was meant to be an inspirational account of Kravitz' year of making amends, and doing the right thing in regards to other people. At times, I found it self-indulgent. He relied on his wife to take care of his three kids, although he does say he became closer to them, and even coached his son's softball team. At the same time, he was making these journeys away from home to tend to his own issues. And, one story that seemed to drive him about a boy he once promised to send books to, ended up with a box of books sent years later to that library. That story just seemed to be a token gesture, and even then, it was his daughter that made the suggestion, not Kravitz himself.
Inspirational? Self-indulgent? A good story, although it rambled at times? Maybe I'm a little too hard on this book, but it bothered me at times. I'd love to know what others think who take time to read Lee Kravitz' Unfinished Business: One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do The Right Things.
Unfinished Business: One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do The Right Things by Lee Kravitz. Bloomsbury USA, ©2010. ISBN 9781596916753 (hardcover), 224p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a review copy, in hopes I would review it.