Meet Holly Denham. It's her first day as a receptionist at a big City investment bank in London and, she lied on her CV doesn't actually have 2 years corporate front-of-house experience, butb rather 2 weeks, and so Holly is struggling to keep up. Add to this her mad friends, dysfunctional family, gossipy colleagues and you'll soon see that Holly's inbox is a source of drama from laughter to pain, scandal to romance. Holly has also been keeping a secret from everyone, and the past is about to catch up to her...
Holly's Inbox is actually a book written purely in email format as if we're reading Holly's email inbox on a daily basis. This might sound a tad boring however, from the first few pages I was drawn in, as working in an office myself I could relate to a lot of the things happening with Holly on her first few days at her new job, and I found myself smiling at quite a few of the emails.
Holly's Inbox was actually launched in February 2007 on www.hollysinbox.com, and it became a phenomenon with thousands of visitors checking the website to read Holly's emails. This book has all the emails in full, and includes some extra exclusive material not found on the website. I'd never actually heard of the website before, so when I ventured on the whole website is actually set out like an e-mail inbox and you can click through Holly's emails by date. I was surprised to find they are exactly the same as in the book, so the book really is just a paper format of the website.
I'm not one for chick-lit books actually, in my time I've only read a small handful, but every now and again one may take my eye and when someone had this on their swap it on www.readitswapit.co.uk, I thought I'd give it a go as I work in an office where I email friends or colleagues and thought it might be quite amusing. Indeed the first few pages did actually have me laughing, especially when Holly gets in trouble off a PA, who then states she's coming down from her office to find her. Despite the format being in emails I got used to this rather quickly, and they are clearly set out showing who the email is to and from, and they generally flow along nicely. It also shows what day it is, and chapters are separated out according to the number of months Holly has spent at her job, so Month 1, Month 2 etc. The e-mails are sent and read only whilst she is at work, and I sometimes wonder how she has the time to send some lengthy emails whilst having what sounds like an extremely busy job!
She shares the reception desk with another woman named Trisha and at first theb relationship starts off awkward, but they do quickly become friends. They aren't allowed to talk to each other on reception so they always email each other. Holly also emails her 2 friends, one called Jason who is gay and works on a reception at a hotel where Holly worked for 2 weeks, but told her current job she worked there 2 years, and her other friend Aisha who is seemingly only interested in men, sex and parties. I found Jason and Aisha extremely irritating to be honest, and I struggled to see how the character of Holly could be friends with them! I did find Holly quite amusing but when emails involving Jason and Aisha came up I would often skip several of them as they were just silly and bored me.
Holly also emails her Mother who emigrated to Spain, and her Grandma who also recently went out there. I found these parts quite funny as her Mother is very interfering and is constantly pestering Holly to find a good boyfriend and takes it upon herself to write to Holly's friend at the bank to try to get her into banking, despite Holly's objections at this. Her Grandma is also quite funny, although quite unbelieveable, and likes to use Holly's email address to sign her up to dating sites to help her find love.
We also meet Holly's brother, who I found just as annoying as Jason and Aisha, he's in the process of opening a club and the emails about this club I just found boring, and again I would often skip these parts.
The first part of the book is mainly Holly settling into her new job, and already getting in trouble off colleagues and HR. Not long after follows a romance with a work colleague, and eventually the big secret the book describes. This secret was not, in my opinion, all that big a deal and after waiting to find out what it was for most of the book, I was quite disappointed. The ending of the book was quite amusing, but then ends on a big cliché which again I found disappointing, but I was reading a chick lit book not my usually thriller, so I should really have expected it! The book itself is quite a thick paperback, however this is purely because it's all emails, and many emails are only one liners, so it actually doesn't take very long to get through this book at all. It does have it's moments where I didn't want to put it down (although still skipping the parts I found annoying!) so I did find it enjoyable in places, but it also had many irritating factors for me personally. I also found some parts just too over the top, such as certain events happening real time and Holly was emailing her friends whilst this was happening, it was too hard for me to grasp, but I suppose without this we wouldn't really know what was going on so this is essential for the book.
Overall if you've ever wanted to peek to someone else's very drama filled emails then this is a great book for you. I also recommend it if you've ever worked in an office and emailed friends and colleagues as this will have its parts you'll find amusing. I did find some parts of the book were funny and I couldn't put it down, but it does have a couple of irritating characters and I would find myself skipping a couple of emails when these characters were involved as a lot of time they weren't saying anything of interest.
Holly's Inbox is available in paperback from Amazon, or you can check out www.hollysinbox.com where all the emails are listed, as if they're in an actual email inbox.
Holly's Inbox is written as if the reader has gained access to Holly's work computer and is reading her emails. There is no introduction to set the scene of the book, just straight into the first email from Holly's Mum congratulating her on her new job as a receptionist with a City investment bank. Thus the book continues through Holly's first 5 months at the bank. Each email to Holly's family, friends and work colleagues and their respective replies enables the reader to get to know the various characters and their relationship with Holly.
It is obvious from the first few pages (and the blurb on the back of the book) that Holly has got this job as a receptionist by lying on her C.V as she has no previous experience of being a receptionist in a big company and there are secrets that are revealed later in the book. The emails between her friends and her superiors at the Bank show that she is struggling to cope at the beginning and this makes for lots of funny situations. She is not allowed to talk to her colleague on reception and so they email each other a lot, at first awkwardly and then gradually warming to each other.
Holly's family are quite eccentric as are her friends and the emails between them all range between serious, amusing and downright hilarious.
For the first half of the book I couldn't put it down it was such easy reading and I was intrigued to see how Holly would cope with her new job and the various problems thrown up by her friends, family and colleagues. However, in the middle I got a bit bored as the book didn't seem to be going anywhere and I got a little fed up with her friend Aisha who comes across as a bit of an airhead who is only interested in sex and very little else. I decided to keep reading though and the pace picked up towards the end when the threads were all drawn together and Holly's secrets are revealed and problems solved with the help of her friends and colleague, Trish.
I found the character of Holly very likeable, warm, loyal and good fun and she possess the kind of wit I would love to have myself. I loved the relationship she has with her friends Jason and Aisha who are obviously very close to her and will help her through any problems however big, even Aisha. She, in return would do the same for them and also her new friend, colleague Trish. The relationship with her family comes over as the relationship most people have with their families - warm and happy most of the time but with occasional frustrations and problems.
On the whole I did enjoy this book, it was a very light hearted read which I could put down and pick up again easily without losing the thread of the story. I think though that maybe I am a little too old for it and that it would appeal more to girls in their twenties (I am just a few years older than this!!) - the 2 girls at work who recommended it to me and were very enthusiastic about it, are 25. My teenage daughter also really enjoyed it. Holly and her friends (except for Trish) are in their twenties and so obviously the story is written from their age perspective.
There is a sequel, which I may read at some stage, but at the moment I would like to get my teeth into something with a little more substance.
I feel as if Holly and I could be kindred spirits - both Receptionists, both work in a busy, professional occupation and both are completely loopy at times.
I was recommended this book and the follow up book by my bookworm friend as she thought it would definately be something I would enjoy seeing I was also a Receptionist. She wasn't wrong!
It all started off as in Internet blog website - Holly's Inbox and would feed you emails in the style of exactly that - Holly's Inbox..... It gives you an insight into the life of a frantic, but genuine Receptionist and all her day to day troubles that go with it.
Along with the help of her mad friends who work at a City Centre Hotel (where Holly used to work) to help completly mad family, it really does keep you intrigued and amused along the way. So much so, you really don't want to put the book down. I found it really hard to stop reading on as you want to find out what happens next and you can't ask for anything more than that.
I think I like it so much because I know excatly where she comes from with the line of work she's in so alot of it is even funnier for me but it's a book that wouldn't surprise me if it eventually got turned into a film - i.e Confessions of a Shopaholic.
I'm not someone who will tell you everything about what the books about as I hate reading that in review as I like to find everythig out for myself.
All you need to know is that it's a great page turner and a book you will find very hard to put down.
An excellent buy!
I love Holly's Inbox! I am a total bookworm anyway and this book was on offer so I got this one and another one. I read this one first it was amazing!
Basically its about this girl named Holly who somehow blagged her way into a job at a bank. She works on reception with her friend Trish and through the book you go on her journey, of worrying about being found out about the job, past relationships coming back to haunt her and relationships starting to unfold. Its funny and sad and you will actually laugh out loud. As soon as I read it, I read it again, then I googled the name on the internet. There was a whole site dedicated to the book, and what I didnt know is that before the book was released they put about half of it on there in real time, as if you're looking at holly's emails and reading her emails as if they're the actual story. Then people went on there to discuss it. As all the people I know would neve dream of reading let alone reading this book it was just what I needed-a load of people in one place to discuss the book with. We stayed on there until the second book came out then they did the same again, they put half on there and we were able to read it until the book was out. I hope there is a third book and am still a member of the website.
After browsing the library and finding no books which suited me, I decided to check out my town's charity shops as I can often pick up some bargains, and sometimes books I wouldn't usually look twice at. I usually hate books set out in email format, I stopped reading a Cecelia Ahern book because of the letter/email style of writing, so when I saw Holly's Inbox in my local Save the Children, I wasn't too keen but after reading the back, it did sound really interesting so I thought it was worth a try for £1.50!
Holly's Inbox is based on the emails of a receptionist working in London called Holly Denham. It all started with an online website, www.hollysinbox.com, which was apparently revealing Holly's emails to the web in real time. This was a real craze online, somehow I missed it so I was quite eager to read the books and find out what it was about. I've since done a bit of digging and found out it is indeed fiction, and was just chick-lit revealed as emails in real time. It's a strange idea to me, but there you go.
Holly Denham works as a receptionist at a big bank in London, and is slowly getting used to her job, alongside her colleagues, keeping in touch with her ever eccentric family and her best friends Jason and Aisha. The "story" unfolds through the emails sent between Holly, her friends and family and basically gives the ups and downs of Holly's life, from getting a new boyfriend, learning her job and trying to keep track of her Granny who is living it up at her OAP home. The story does unfold quite slowly throughout the book but does work up to a nice and surprising climax at the end.
As I mentioned, although it has been marketed as if Holly is a real person, but she is indeed a fictional character. I really warmed to her through reading her emails, she's very funny and the writing style is very natural and easy going. As the emails are written as they were "sent", you get to form your own opinions about Holly and the other characters in the book, although the way Holly is written you are definitely supposed to like her and want to read on to find out more about her! Because it is meant to be written by a normal woman, you get a really good glimpse into the life of a modern woman, happy and sad!
Other characters in the book include my favourite Jason, who is Holly's gay best friend and absolutely hilarious. The conversations between Holly and Jason were light relief throughout and were really a joy to read. Aisha was another of Holly's friends and although she was nice enough, she got on my nerves a lot and I found myself wanting to skip her emails. The last main character is Holly's fellow receptionist, Patricia, or Trish as she is on her emails. The banter between the two women was very realistic but so enjoyable to read and I found myself really liking Trish as her and Holly grew closer.
At over 700 pages long, this book does look like an enormous chunk of reading material but really, it isn't. The book, as mentioned, is set out in email form with a To and From, Subject line then the body of the email which is rarely over a few lines long. As the emails are short, they don't cover anywhere near a whole, even half probably, so you can easily sit and read a load of pages at once because of the spread-out layout the book. This allows you to dip in and out of the story quite easily, and was fairly easy to pick up too as the story was easy to follow and slow to develop. I found myself getting really involved in the book and easily reading 100+ pages in one sitting, so it didn't take me long to get through the whole book.
It is an easy read, written in a bit of an unusual way but I think that adds to the charm of it to be honest. The characters were all great, especially Holly, Jason and Trish and you can feel yourself getting more involved in the story as it developed, and I was desperate to find out how it was all going to end for Holly and co. It is funny, and a very light-hearted read so I would definitely recommend it as a holiday read, perfect for chilling out and taking your mind off the day, immerse yourself in someone else's life for a while!
ISBN: 978-0755343744. Published by Headline Review in August 2007. The paperback version contains 736 pages, and is available on Amazon for £4.99 (RRP is £6.99). The second book was released in June 2008, and is entitled Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City and follows on from the first one. If you are interested in having a look at the website, the address is www.hollysinbox.com.
Thank you for reading.
Ever wanted a peek at someone else's e-mail? Discover the secrets of HOLLY'S INBOX. Meet Holly Denham. It's her first day as a receptionist at a City investment bank and, with no corporate front of house experience, Holly is struggling to keep up. Add to this her mad friends, dysfunctional family and gossipy colleagues, and Holly's inbox is a daily source of drama, laughter, scandal and even romance. But Holly's been keeping a secret from everyone - and the past is about to catch up with her...Launched in February 2007, www.hollysinbox.com became a website phenomenon, with thousands of visitors from all over the world logging on daily to read Holly's e-mails. This novel tells Holly's story in full, and also includes exclusive extra material not available on the site.