The Fallback Plan

When I saw this book on the shelves at the library it appealed to me for a couple of reasons.  Of course the cover was colorful and eye-catching.  However, it was the back of the book that sold it to me.  A dry humor/sarcastic take on being out of a job and desperate and having to move back in with your parents.  Plus, it was written by a former New Yorker staffer, which has to be a good sign, right?

I didn’t read it the first week I had it home, as I was so desperate to find a job and carrying a bit of anxiety that I would have to move back in with my parents.  However, with a phone call last week with a job offer (I haven’t accepted yet), it seemed safe to give it a try.  Plus, I had given up on my current book as being too depressing, so this light and funny book seemed perfect.

As I started the book I thought I judged it well.  The narrator seemed to be witty in her perspective on her unexpected circumstances.  Then she got mean.  Then the book sunk into all the usual cliches of describing the life of a nanny.  And, again, it was revealed that most of the characters had serious mental problems.  Must every piece of fiction be about mental illness.

In the end the book was mercifully short.  I finished it in less than 24 hours, always hoping that it would show the same promise it did in the first 50 pages.  Did the publisher buy the book on the basis of the first few chapters and then the author threw the rest together?  Was she really a staffer at the New Yorker?  Was she a staffer in a very non-writing capacity?  I’m a little surprised that fiction of this quality would be publishable.

In short, skip this book.  It has high pretensions, but falls far short.

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