Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Book review: Not Working


Feeling a little trapped and unsure of her future in her chosen career, Claire leaves her job and embarks on several months of soul-searching as she works out what, exactly, she wants her life to look like...

As soon as I spotted Not Working, with its protagonist sharing my name and there being something of a parallel between her situation and mine (granted, a sketchy one at best - I opted to take a career break and left still loving teaching...Book-Claire's exit is rather less managed and happy), I knew I wanted to read it. Mad shout out the the brilliant cover art, by the way - it's so eye catching and vivid.

Parts of the book I loved. The episodic set out of the chapters made for an interesting and fun way of splitting up the action, and Owens' observations of London are great - I especially liked the snippets of Claire's journeys on the Tube and on the buses. Truly all human life can be observed on the lines and routes of Transport for London.

I can't say I loved the book though, and there's one main reason for this. Claire. I found her unsympathetic, spoiled and selfish, and as the book progressed I almost felt myself willing her to have a big crisis so she'd wisen up and realise that she needed to buck her ideas up. It's quite something to find yourself murmuring out loud at a character. Particularly when you share a name with them. It probably didn't help that due to the 'snippets' format a few bigger conflicts never really got resolved, and as the book drew to a close I found myself disappointed that some of the larger plotlines kind of fell by the wayside as the finish line approached.

Not Working is a decent debut, and Owens is clearly a talented writer - I cannot wait to read more, because I think with some more interesting characters (either nicer ones, or nastier) and a meatier plot she'd create something really special. With a protagonist like the milquetoast, wine-soaked Claire, however, this book left me wanting more.

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Hi, I'm Claire...

Hi, I'm Claire...

About Me

I believe in 80s pop, 90s teen movies, and proper thank you notes. I just like smiling...smiling's my favourite.

I write here about London, food, books & travel, and a lot more besides. I'm never happier than when having adventures, cooking for friends, or lost in a good book.

If you'd like to work together, or if you'd just like to say hello, my email is: countrymouseclaire@gmail.com

Please note that on occasion affiliate links may be used in this blog. All items received for review or paid posts will always be disclosed.

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