Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Atria, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Shannon Bigham
aving thoroughly enjoyed
The Nanny Diaries
, I eagerly began
. This second novel by McLaughlin and Kraus is a biting satire about '
'. She's a women's studies college graduate, desperately trying to support herself.
needs food, shelter, and money to pay for her student loans. As the story opens,
is working at '
The Center for Equity in Community
', in a thankless administrative position - her day is spent making color-coded photocopies and coping with her bizarre boss, Doris.
thought that she was hired to do research to help women to a better, more equal existence. Instead, she spends her days making copies in the '
', which is really an abandoned closet.
thinks that she can take no more, Doris fires her.
enters a new kind of hell: unemployment in Manhattan. In a sagging economy, with bills to pay, and feelings of disenchantment regarding the job opportunities (or lack thereof) for a young female,
frantically begins a job search. A bizarre twist of events, including a job fair that serves alcohol and utilizes a black light (think disco atmosphere), leads to
landing a job at '
'. Her boss is
, who is an energetic, if not frenetic, mover-and-shaker. When he swoops
up, she's over-the-moon with her
status. She's making money, and
is looking to make a substantial pledge to feminist non-profits (or so
, who is still determined to lift women above their oppressions, is a bit confused about her new role. She is eventually appointed as '
Director of Rebranding Knowledge Acquisition
', although she becomes unsure about
's commitment to the equality of women. She cannot get a straight answer or any direction from
, much less a five-minute meeting with him to go over her work. Stereotypes, designer brand names, and funky trends are peppered throughout the story. They're funny, and at times, startlingly
wades her way through the corporate world wearing rose-colored glasses. Carrying a heavy dose of idealism, she's often shell-shocked by how the corporate world operates and what it expects of her.
he novel is a roller-coaster ride for the generic
working for the generic
, highlighting the experiences of women in the 21st century's corporate world. While I did not enjoy
as much as
The Nanny Diaries
, it's a fast, entertaining read. Being a mother and a relatively young professional, I could relate to the themes in both novels, although this second one speaks more to the urban, educated twenty-something female than does
, which is more directed to the
set. I recommend
to youngish career women and those who enjoyed McLaughlin and Kraus's debut, and are curious about their new book.
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