The description of ‘Not Working’ by Lisa Owens * appealed to me as it was about a Claire, who is newly and voluntarily unemployed. The novel follows Claire’s job hunt, the consistent rejections and all the stress that come along with that. As someone who has found myself unemployed for most of my gap year, I was excited to connect with her character and see if our experiences matched up. In the beginning, I felt a strong sense of empathy towards Claire, particularly the way she fixated on the small details in her life and often blew tiny problems way out of proportion.
I also really loved the format of the book. It was split into lots of very short ‘mini-chapters’ within each of the much longer chapters. This is a very different and a really interesting layout to any other book I’ve read before. It felt like we were looking at thirty-second snapshots of Claire’s life which allowed us to learn a lot about her life, relationships and current circumstances without taking up too much of the book.
Unfortunately, this is where my praise for this book ends. Nothing really happens, plotwise. At first, I thought all the little details we’d picked up along the way were building up to one huge plot twist, however, I’m currently 80% of the way through (seriously considering stopping there) and still, nothing has happened. Everything is just plodding along, day after day. Besides a couple of meetings with friends and a very brief spell of employment, nothing particularly exciting has happened. Of course, that is a very accurate representation of real life but, personally, I read books to escape the boredom of real life, not to be reminded of how ordinary my life is!
Only one plot point really springs to mind as bringing any sense of drama which is the so-called argument between her and her Mother. Even then, it was only treated as a secondary plot point rather than the main source of tension. It was also very frustrating reading about the way Claire’s mother dodged her calls and all attempts to make amends for what seemed like months. It seemed very immature.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, true to life story, I’d absolutely recommened this book. That’s just not what I look for when I’m reading, so, unfortunately, this isn’t the book for me.
Have you read ‘Not Working’? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
*An early copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher via NetGalley, however, all opinions are my own and I am not being paid for this review*