BOOK REVIEW: Not Working by Lisa Owens (2016)

Sometimes a book comes along that resonates with you so well you can think of nothing else. A book so true, so captivating and relatable that you begin to suspect the author has spent the past few years stalking you for material.

This month this happened to me, and the book in question is Not Working, the debut novel from Lisa Owens.

I spotted this book during my last month working at Waterstones, and the title immediately captured my attention as it seemed rather apt, leaving my current job and all. Knowing that I don’t want to be a bookseller for the rest of my life, I have left to focus on other things, and to follow my dream of a new career (though this book review is not the place to go into it; I will discuss this at some point). This means that my working life is a little ‘up in the air’, and the tag-line ‘To Do: Quit Job, Find Purpose, PANIC’ had me hooked before I even picked up the book.

Written in a style akin to Bridget Jones, we are introduced to Claire Flannery, who quits her job in ‘creative communications’ after feeling bored and unfulfilled, instead choosing to become unemployed until she finds her purpose in life.

I was incredibly impressed that this is a debut novel; Lisa Owens’ writing is fantastic. Not Working is funny, engaging, and astute; Owens is excellent at capturing the nuances of everyday people in her characters, including all of the human flaws and defense mechanisms that are frighteningly familiar. It’s a warm, addictive and incredibly of-its-time book, capturing modern life perfectly.

If you have ever thought about quitting your job, if you’ve ever felt like you don’t fit in and everyone is ahead of you in life, then Not Working is for you. I’ve already told all of my friends about this book, and now I’m telling you.