Finding Yourself


There is a man standing outside my flat wearing khaki-greens and a huge Free Palestine badge.

Finding your purpose is something that plagues you in your twenties, or at least that’s my experience of them so far! There’s so much pressure to know what you’re doing, where you’re going and finding that one person do all of that with! But what if you could hit pause? Stop working in that job that pays the bills and have the solitude to really think about what you want? Not Working is all about making that space and how successful (or not!) it can be!

Claire Flannery has quit her job in the hope of finding her reason in life. Everyone around her seems to have their act together – why can’t she? But it’s not as easy as taking a couple of days off work ­­– it requires soul-searching, lots of coffee and dealing with sarcastic comments from friends and family!

Written in small bursts of panic and consciousness, Not Working envelopes the reader into the mind of an unsure twenty-something. Claire’s streams of consciousness are pithy and light, darting from her all-consuming existential crisis to the weird behaviour of tube passengers! If you’re after a book with a really gripping and well-structured narrative, this is not it – the narrative is incredibly fragmented and broken up into little topics and sub-headings. It is, however, a perfect book to dip in and out of, one to visit form time to time – in short, a great commuter read!

I must admit, I think I would struggle to be friends with the fictional Claire Flannery. With a book like this, you want to relate to the struggles of the protagonist, cheer her on and sympathise when she falls but Claire is frustrating. She’s funny and observant but comes across as a bit entitled and ungrateful if truth be told. As a woman in her mid-twenties she has bought a flat (in London!), lives with an incredibly supportive, neurosurgeon-in-training boyfriend and is able to take an undetermined amount of time off from the world of work – she’s far too lucky to be so… ungrateful!

Despite a lack of chemistry between the protagonist and myself, Not Working is a light, easy read that will make your daily commute that little bit brighter, particularly if you are a London-based twenty-something who is also unsure of the road ahead.

3 star


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