NOT WORKING by Lisa Owens Reminds Me of Bridget Jones

Not Working

NOT_WORKING_coverA Novel
By Lisa Owens
Narrator: Tuppence Middleton
Penguin Random House Audio | Random House Audio 
Genre: Fiction –
Release Date: May 03, 2016 | 
6 Hours and 22 Minutes
Hardcover and E-Book Published by The Dial Press
May 03, 2016 | 256 Pages

Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.



In the tradition of Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses comes a “a pin-sharp, utterly addictive debut” (Vogue U.K.) told in vignettes that speak to a new generation not trying to have it all but hoping to make sense of it all. …

Claire Flannery has just quit her office job, hoping to take some time to discover her real passion. The problem is, she’s not exactly sure how to go about finding it. Without the distractions of a regular routine, Claire confronts the best and worst parts of herself: the generous, attentive part that visits her grandmother for tea and cooks special meals for her boyfriend, Luke, and the part that she feels will never measure up and makes regrettable comments after too many glasses of wine. What emerges is a candid, moving portrait of a clear-eyed heroine trying to forge her own way, a wholly relatable character whose imperfections and uncanny observations highlight what makes us all different and yet inescapably linked.


My Take Oblong Shaped


With a quirkiness that includes what feels like stream-of-thought notes, Lisa Owens presents us with a story about a woman with a meaningless job quitting it to “find herself,” or, at least, do something meaningful with her life.  When she took the job, she felt it was something she would do until she found what she really wanted to do. Several years  pass and it looks like this job is long term. Maybe she just wants to figure out thing she enjoys and that  she is good at doing.  What marketable skills does she have?    As someone who has reinvented myself several times I can relate.  Even after a few jobs, several businesses, and lots of time at college, I still have to find what i want to be when I grow up.  I suspect, I will still be looking on my deathbed.

Tuppence Middleton has a delightful voice with a lot of verve, energy and personality. And, who wouldn’t love her name!?

The book sometimes feels like a story; at other times a diary. Still, on occasion it feels like a notebook a writer would keep to make notes of potentially important ideas. These additions into the narrative made me question whether it was fiction; that’s an interesting device.

Claire is in a relationship with a brain surgeon; an infinitely patient man.   Everyone around this woman is patient, except perhaps her mother after Claire makes a particularly egregious outburst at her grandfather’s funeral luncheon. 

With her parents, Claire’s relationship with her parents is uncannily  like Bridget Jones’s relationship to her parents. And, Claire feels very much like Bridget. Her boyfriend feels a little like Darcy but, not enough to make this a retelling of P & P or Bridget Jones’s Diary (BJD). Indeed, nothing besides Claire’s floundering, her drinking and her parents makes it like Bridget Jones; it’s more as if, and this is a real stretch, BJD has created a generation of female characters with weird social skills and who are having a hard time making their way through life.

I’m okay with it — I’ve missed Bridget for years so Claire filled a sad hole in my active book characters line-up. If you like that kind of character, and like diaristic novels, then you might enjoy this as I did.


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