Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’ (of The Nanny Diaries) second novel, Citizen Girl, is about the struggles of a young professional trying to make a living in the city.
Girl (again, they use a generic name) is fired from her job at a women’s advocacy center for trying to assert herself and find some dignity at the job, which in essence has her making photocopies every single day.
She is in desperate need of a job, and My Company, a women’s online resource, offers her a job for a “new development.” Only, she has no idea what she’s supposed to do. No instructions, no one to talk to, no one to work with. And she must figure out what exactly the job requires from her.
I loved The Nanny Diaries so I got Citizen Girl. I wasn’t expecting a light read, because The Nanny Diaries was heavy on introspection and emotions. Although the style of writing is carried over in Citizen Girl, the story got out of hand.
I think it probably dealt with too many issues. It touches on the struggle with day-to-day work. It touches on feminism and its varied meanings to different people. It touches on materialism and how people can stand by watching things drift all for the money. Girl has to deal with all this, and despite her altruistic nature, doesn’t resolve anything.
There were also a lot of parts that I went on and on until it was tiresome to read, such as the work parts with her boss Guy, who kept giving out vague information and instructions, and who kept maligning her for her ideals. The trashy parts didn’t help either, with the pool parties, porn sites, and all that jazz.
Even the supposed light in her tunnel, Buster (the boyfriend), falls flat because they inject the feminism as a conflict between Girl and Buster because Buster keeps on going to parties with strippers and shows with hookers.
The book also depicts some disturbing pictures of women. Girl’s mother is naively optimistic, Girl’s mentor seems to be the most positive character in the book… until she sells out and is a hypocrite to her cause (uh, getting funding for her women’s org from a porn site that traffics women), and Girl’s other boss Manley who is pregnant with a girl baby but is more than willing to earn her living off a porn site.
I guess they were trying to paint an accurate picture, but it’s insulting to all the women who have made it in their fields while retaining their humanity and their feminist ideals.
I really was expecting a better read.
My copy: I had it mooched last year, a mass market paperback
My rating: 2/5 stars
photo courtesy of http://www.aquabooks.ca/images/citizen.jpg