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Not Working: A Novel by Lisa Owens

Not Working: A Novel (edition 2016)

by Lisa Owens (Author)

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11310174,808 (3.17)2
"In the tradition of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary and Allison Pearson's I Don't Know How She Does It comes a wise and laugh-out-loud debut novel that captures a young generation trying not to have it all, but to figure out what it all means. Claire has just resigned from her job without a plan for her next move. As she struggles to explain herself to friends and family, she experiences the emotions and minutiae of day-to-day life as only someone without the distractions of a regular routine can--and discovers what happens when she seeks true purpose in life"-- "First there was Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones; then Allison Pearson's I Don't Know How She Does It; and now Lisa Owen's Not Working to capture the point of view of of a young generation trying not to have it all, but to figure out what it all means. Claire has just resigned from her job without a plan - she is pleased and anxious, but her family and friends don't seem to understand. Before too long she pushes away her safe, steady, brain surgeon boyfriend, and her mother stops talking to her. Claire navigates, observes, and comments on the emotions and minutiae of day to day life as only someone without the distractions of a regular routine can. This is a story of self discovery, packed with wry humor and told in sparkling vignettes"--… (more)
Title:Not Working: A Novel
Authors:Lisa Owens (Author)
Info:The Dial Press (2016), 256 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Not Working by Lisa Owens

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Starting out, this seemed like kind of a fun chick lit book. Protagonist Claire is taking a sabbatical from work to figure out what she really wants to do with her life. She discovers that she really has no idea, and almost everything in her life seems to be on the fritz. Her activities include going back to work at her previous company as a short-term contractor, and discovering that her replacement is more competent than Claire was. For about the first third of the book, this storyline was entertaining. Then it started to get old, and I wanted to shake Claire and tell her to grow up. Claire expects her boyfriend, who is training to be a surgeon, to be completely supportive of her "finding herself," while also getting ridiculously jealous about one of the other surgeons he works with. She also ends up being incapable of dealing with basic life tasks, like hiring a contractor to deal with an overgrowing plant. I'm not sure that the entertainment value was enough to make me happy I read this book, though it was a quick read. ( )
  lahochstetler | Nov 20, 2019 |
Not Working by Lisa Owens is a humorous debut novel that will have you nodding along to the day-to-day antics of the main protagonist (Claire Flannery), and you'll soon find yourself giggling because in all likelihood you might have found yourself in a similar position at one point or another. This very entertaining book is also full of Claire's observations, small things, that somehow grows into more. I found them enjoyable to a point, but perhaps there were just a tad too many. Nevertheless, Not Working had a lot going for it, especially if you're in the mood for a satirical book that's aimed at a post-Bridget Jones generation.

Furthermore, Not Working is incredibly relatable. I found that I have personally experienced a lot of the small, funny moments, Lisa Owens writes about. That said, don't expect a book that starts at A and ends at Z, though. The book is written in a diary format, which might come across as being slightly scattered, but I realised there was a purpose to this... After all, life itself is kinda, sorta, scattered. Things don't always go as planned. This, however, is what the book is all about: Life.

All in all, I liked Not Working. It's highly enjoyable, especially if you're around the same age as the protagonist (late 20s, early 30s, I suspect). To people who are a little older, this is a good way to understand Generation Y (I think that's what you call the generation just before the Millennials), who in all respect are somewhat of a floater generation in the greater scheme of things.

Definitely try to get your hands on this one when you're in the mood for a good giggle.

Review originally posted at:
( )
  MoniqueSnyman | Oct 3, 2019 |
Best for: Anyone looking for a quick read that is linear but written in a slightly different style.

In a nutshell: Claire has quit her job without another lined up, in an effort to find something she wants to do.

Worth quoting:
“When I had a job, I used to fantasize about what I’d do if I didn’t have to work anymore. Go to the gym every day, get really fit, train for a marathon perhaps. Finish Ulysses, and read Moby Dick and one of the big Russian guys. Get to grips with the economy, also modern art.”
“You know, not everyone can be a hero, or live the dream — we just need to contribute what we can. Pull our weight, earn a living. There’s no shame in that.”

Why I chose it: The paperback cover (in the UK at least) is striking and made me pick it up. Then I read the back and knew I had to read it.

Have you ever read the first chapter or so of a book and seriously wonder if it’s your own memoir? That is to say, have you ever related so hard to the circumstances in a novel that you’re slightly bummed because now you can’t turn your own story into a novel because you’ll be sued for copywrite? That’s kind of how I feel about this book.

Claire has quit her job. She doesn’t enjoy her work, and wants to take time to actually sort out what she wants to do. She has savings, and has a mortgage on a flat with her boyfriend (a doctor trainee), so she’s obviously in a position to do this. But she doesn’t know where to start. She doesn’t have an obvious passion, or any real sense of what she wants to be doing with her life. She has some skeptical friends (most of them seem unsupportive - something I couldn’t relate to), and a mother who isn’t speaking to her.

The story is presented across a few chapters, but nearly every few paragraphs has a little sub-heading. It’s an interesting device making the book read more like a diary. It’s a convention that I think is challenging to do well, but Ms. Owens pulls it off well.

I enjoyed Claire’s comments and attitude and flaws because I could see myself in much of her. I, too, quit my job earlier this year. It was a necessity — we moved across the world — but I wanted to do it because it isn’t a field I wanted to be in. And I’m still sort-of working in that field (less than full-time), and still haven’t been able to sort out what I’m going to do long-term. I’m lucky enough that we can afford me not working full-time at my previous salary, and it does feel a bit indulgent to be able to go to the gym at 10 AM on a Monday because I don’t have to have my butt in an office chair at 8 AM. So reading someone who is in a somewhat similar position to me was almost cathartic.

But even if I couldn’t relate so hard, I still think I would have highly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a fairly quick read that still has some heft in terms of the relationships explored within, I think you’ll enjoy this one. ( )
  ASKelmore | Aug 29, 2018 |
This book was okay.

I think it lacked purpose. I liked some parts in it but other parts were repetitive and obvious! I mean, you leave your job for no reason and you expect your life to be great doing nothing?!

That ain't gonna happen no matter what! ( )
  books.paper.mania | Sep 22, 2017 |
A special thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, so maybe it is because I'm a Gen-Xer, or maybe it is because this book was pitched as being in the same vein as Bridget Jones's Diary and I Don't Know How She Does It, but I found it incredibly manic and I didn't enjoy it.

Our narrator, Claire Flannery, is in her late 20s and lives with her boyfriend in London. She quits her job in the hopes that she will discover what she wants to do with/in her life. There really wasn't much of a story here, and the small choppy sub-titled sections didn't do the narrative any favours - this staccato rhythm was distracting and didn't help me engage with the characters. Claire comes off as selfish, shallow, and spoiled. She is unlikable, and to be frank, rather dull. There were some funny bits, but all-in-all, there was really nothing there character-wise and plot-wise. ( )
  GirlWellRead | Feb 25, 2017 |
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