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Steph hates her job. She hates her colleagues. She likes the work first aid kit, a lot. She's trundling along, doing not very much, finding her release where she can. To me it seems like she loves to hate her life. Takes great pleasure in despising it, in fact.
Steph is pretty awesome. I like to think that if we worked together in that same office, we would be friends. Or frenemies. Or maybe I'd be just another nickname to her, alongside The Martyr, The Capricorn, The Toad and When Animals Attack. God I hope not. Because despite what you may think from the description above, Steph is cool. Lethally cool.
This is an extremely dark, extremely funny story with acutely accurate descriptions of office life. Each day there's more fun, but only weekdays. Either nothing happens at weekends, or everything does, but either way, Steph's not telling. This is purely her 9 to 5, Monday to Friday story. A story of someone who would rather be anywhere but where she is, doing anything but what she's doing.
I speed read this book. The first 50 pages on a train, the next 100 sitting by a lake in the sunshine, waiting for the drivers to turn up, an hour and a half late. By that point I was definitely Team Steph and wishing on them the same things she wishes on her colleagues. Or worse.
Not a whole lot happens in this book, in many respects. Steph goes to work. She interacts with her colleagues as little as possible. She goes to McDonalds for lunch, or spends the time sitting in her car. She makes frequent visits to the work toilets, despite their abhorrent green colour. And yet you can see so much more bubbling under the surface. Steph is the kind of narrator who doesn't realise how entertaining she is, and is all the more hilarious for it. It's a really unusual book that some people might not 'get', but while offices I've worked in have never been quite as meaningless as Steph's, I can identify with her 100%. I didn't pity her, though. I didn't, because I'm pretty sure that despite outward appearances, she has it all under control. So no, no pity, but a smidge of envy.
This review first appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk
Out now in paperback.