Thursday, November 17, 2016

The BBRBF Book Club: Not Working by Lisa Owens

Happy November, my fellow book worms! Welcome to another installment of The BBRBF Book Club! Be sure to check out posts from other members of the club participating this month - Helene from Circle Skirts and Petticoats, and Kat from The Miss Information Blog!

For this month, I got to pull a few titles from my wishlist and as a group, we voted on Not Working by Lisa Owens. As I planned my outfit for this post, part of me wondered if I picked this title subconsciously because of my vacation in Aruba. With the pink, orange, and yellow colors as well as the fluffy bathrobe on the cover, clearly vacation was on my mind. Still, even though I considered snapping a few pics of me IN a robe at the pool for this (and trust me, the robes we had in our room were FLUFFY AF), I decided against it.

Instead, I decided to pull colors from the cover and rock some purple and yellow. I've had this little floral top since March when I was in NYC with Cody, Anna, and Florian. We stopped by Enz's, a well-known vintage repro store and I found this top there. I knew it was different for me (crop top, hello!) but didn't expect it so sit in my closet so long, untouched! Finally, when considering what to wear for this book, I spotted it and knew it would work with this older skirt from ModCloth and a simple tank top underneath.

Not Working is a story told in the POV of Claire, who quit her job to pursue her true passions but has no idea what those actually are. As she struggles to find herself and what she really wants in life, she juggles her life with her boyfriend, her challenging relationship with her mother, and those around her.

Told in brief snippets of her observations and thoughts, Not Working is enjoyable, funny, and definitely a bit on the quirky side - my kind of book! At first, the snippets were hard to follow but once I caught on to the format, I enjoyed them. They really are Claire's observations as she goes about her days without a job. Some are lengthier scenes with her boyfriend, Luke, or mother and father, while others are short - sometimes only 1 line - about something seen on the train or something she ponders about while having coffee.

This is such a relatable way of writing - we all go through our days, sometimes all in our own heads, and have these thoughts and inner exchanges. In some ways, though, reading Claire's story this way made it NOT relatable. I really enjoyed Claire as a character but she also made me twitch - we are total opposites. She is what I like to call a Genuine Hot Mess of a Woman. I mean, she celebrates the fact that she was only 8 months late to renew her license.

She is also that girl who takes a bus home after drinking too much wine with her gal pal and falls asleep on the bus, doesn't wake up until the bus is back in the depot, and then has to take an Uber to her house, costing her way more money than the bus would probably cost in a month.

I kept thinking, "You're unemployed, girl, what the hell are you doing? Get your shit together!"

Still, she is somehow like-able and I know even I can relate to her absence of a destiny. She has NO idea what she wants to do with her life but knows she wants to find it. While I enjoy my job and am quite satisfied with the path I am on, I've had those thoughts - I think we all have - where I'm just like "what the heck am I supposed to be doing? Am I supposed to be an event planner or is there something MORE?"

Along those same lines, if you ask me where I see myself in 5 years, I'll punch you in the throat. I HATE that question - no, I DESPISE that question. Mostly because I don't really know or picture myself in 5 years but also because it's a dumb question. So much changes in that amount of time. How can we possibly even THINK of 5 years from now?

While I enjoyed this plucky tale, I wish the book had a better ending. It felt pretty anticlimactic and the epilogue was a bit lackluster - almost as if the author wanted to wrap it up and be done with it. I hate when that happens! Readers deserve much more than that after following along for the journey!

We are always open to having more gals (or guys!) join our little club - so let us know if you want to be included and one of us will had you to the conversations. Or, if you've read this book or others we have covered and want to add your POV, please do in the comments! Next month we are reading Swamplandia! by Karen Russell!