Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Great Laughs and Some Wisdom Along the Way

I put off projects I should have been completing yesterday to finish a great book, Everything Nice by Ellen Shanman.  It made me laugh out loud from the first sentence.  Maybe I related so well because Mike (Michaela) Edwards goes from being a top ad copywriter to having no job and no prospects in the first chapter, and I also find myself unexpectedly "between jobs".  Unfortunately, she tied her fortunes to one other marketing guru and treated everyone else like they were not worth the time of day.  Snarky can come back and bite you in the butt, and it did so to Mike.

Because she had burned every last bridge in the advertising community, nobody will even consider offering her a job, despite her mad skills.  She has to beg her dad to let her move back home, and he (it surprises her to learn) has a new love who is also moving in.  Humiliation weighs her down.

You see, Mike's mom died when she was very young and her dad never had any idea how to raise a daughter.  He also only knew how to cope with the loss of his wife by "packing her away" and never speaking of her again.  This left Mike with really no idea how to be a female in the world, so she hung with the guys; thus her best friend, Gunther, with whom she drinks too much in a dive bar on a daily basis because he is a journalist filing stories on gossip in which he has no interest.

After moping around the house for too long, her dad's new love sets her up for an interview with a charter school where she had taught, and instead of working in the marketing department she finds herself a substitute teacher to seventh-grade girls.  To her further horror, the class she is teaching is "Life Skills", i.e., Home Ec. 

She finds, to her surprise, that her principal is a woman she can and does admire because she takes no prisoners, and she also decides that there are life skills she would love to teach these young ladies, and they don't include baking or sewing.  They're in New York, so shouldn't they know how to survive on the subway?  I mean, what are the odds they are ever going to need to make their own granola?

The story just keeps getting better as you go along.  Don't start reading unless you don't need to get up to go to work in the morning!

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