Saturday, May 14, 2016

Not Working - by Lisa Owens: Book Review

This novel reminded me of Bridget Jones's Diary, only this was the upgraded version for the 21st century readers, mainly the millennials. The job-that's-not-mean-to-be-the-one is the main problem in Claire Flannery's life, so she quits it to have time to think what she wants to do next. She lives with her doctor-in-training boyfriend of seven years, Luke, who seems to have it together. To add to the list of problems in her life, Claire's relationship with her mother is hindered when Claire makes a remark that spoils the image of her late grandfather. I thought that bit was a tad too much. Claire and her mother were made to seem different and unable to find a common ground; it was just like watching a mother-teenager relationship, but in this case the mother was the one with the personality of a teenager. I see why the author wanted to create some tension in that area of Claire's life, but the reason of this tension could have been a better one. 
My favorite part of the novel was the insecurity, the search, and undecided-ness regarding her "meant to be" job. It's probably one of the most pressing questions 20somethings ask themselves. She has a lot of free time on her hands, and this gives her time for introspection, time to cook and play the domestic wife, and also time to visit her Grandmother who is far from the helpless Grandmother one is tempted to imagine. Claire may come across as selfish, a brat, or even unkind person, but funny enough, all her flaws made her a very real character, unlike the other characters in the novel.

It seems as though Claire, the main character, was surrounded by characters not fully developed yet, but who all wanted a say in everything she did. While reading this novel and observing Claire's interactions with her family members, and sometimes this applied to Luke as well, it felt as if they were uninterested in the other family members' lives. Witty replies and observations which bordered on meanness were the norm most of the times. This made me root even more for Claire, despite her flaws (she could make some unwise remarks after a glass too much of wine) and wandering through life. I really, really, really wanted to see her find a job she likes and enjoys going to, but this is not something the author decided to do. I, however, kept picturing Claire as a magazine writer or column writer because I liked her observations and wording. 
There are nine chapters in total, but there are many smaller sub-chapters, each with a title. They were plain irritating in the beginning, but as I kept reading, I saw how they made the novel feel like a whole, especially since it is formed of Claire's unplanned and haphazard moments throughout the day, weeks, months.
To my surprise, I read this book with a lot of enjoyment, I couldn't wait to pick it up any chance I had throughout my day. It is a novel that will certainly appeal to the late 20somethings to those in their 30s.

List of Characters:
Claire Flannery - main character
Luke - her boyfriend
Mum&Dad - her parents
Grandma - her maternal grandmother
Sarah - her friend
+some other I can't remember by name.     

I received a copy of this book via Net Galley. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

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