Top critical review
Unstructured, bitty, neither one thing nor the other
on 27 June 2000
Did Serena Mackesy want to write a novel or a book of columns? I still haven't a clue having read this book. There is a story in there, but it really does seem like it's just bolted on to her - admittedly amusing - columns on office life as a temp. Now, okay, the heroine's life as a Temp is certainly a good premise on which to base a novel, but it's not sufficient to take a set of published columns and intersperse them between the ongoing narrative.
We don't even get into the book proper until about the third chapter. By half-way through I realised I still didn't know the name of the heroine, the Temp, who was narrating this first-person story. That's fine in the kind of office culture Mackesy is portraying, but by then I'd also read all about The Temp's life with her housemates and friends. So why no name? When her name was finally mentioned, it seemed almost an afterthought.
The story itself was moderately entertaining, but Mackesy glossed over too many of the interesting bits. Yes, the boyfriend story - and for a long time it was unclear just *who* The Temp was going out with - was predictable, as was the identity of her eventual partner. But even with that, we like to read a little more of the 'getting together' process and so on. This was abrupt, hurried, with no emotional depth to it at all.
Next time, Ms Mackesy, either publish a collection of columns or write a novel. This one just doesn't work as a combination of the two.