Wednesday, June 1, 2016

ARC Review: Break in Case of Emergency by Jessica Winter

Break in Case of Emergency: A novelTitle: Break in Case of Emergency: A novel 
Author: Jessica Winter
Publisher/Publication Date: Knopf, July 12, 2016 
Genre: Womens Fiction, Chick Lit, Fiction
Source/Format: Publisher (First to Read), eARC

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

An irreverent and deeply moving comedy about friendship, fertility, and fighting for one’s sanity in a toxic workplace...

Jen has reached her early thirties and has all but abandoned a once-promising painting career when, spurred by the 2008 economic crisis, she takes a poorly defined job at a feminist nonprofit. The foundation’s ostensible aim is to empower women, but staffers spend all their time devising acronyms for imaginary programs, ruthlessly undermining one another, and stroking the ego of their boss, the larger-than-life celebrity philanthropist Leora Infinitas. Jen’s complicity in this passive-aggressive hellscape only intensifies her feelings of inferiority compared to her two best friends—one a wealthy attorney with a picture-perfect family, the other a passionately committed artist—and so does Jen’s apparent inability to have a baby, a source of existential panic that begins to affect her marriage and her already precarious status at the office. As Break in Case of Emergency unfolds, a fateful art exhibition, a surreal boondoggle adventure in Belize, and a devastating personal loss conspire to force Jen to reckon with some hard truths about herself and the people she loves most...

My Thoughts:

With this one, I had an interesting reading experience. Sometimes I was a little bored, at other times I was entertained by the antics of the characters, and the sheer ridiculous things that went on and were said. There were also moments that were serious and dealt with issues that directly concerned the characters. And, yeah, I had a few slight laughs, but even still, Break in Case of Emergency was an average read for me.

The book was basically about Jen who had reached a rocky point in her life and struggled with attempts to have a baby, job loss, and new employment—all while trying to navigate life at its best and worst. Along for the ride are Jen’s friends—Pam and Meg—and coworkers at a foundation supposedly meant to encourage/help woman.

Some of it was genuinely humorous, but at some points I felt like the book was trying too hard to be funny and didn’t really achieve the kind of effect it could have had. So, forced humor aside, there were parts that I really enjoyed. The story itself wasn’t actually bad, and the exploration of the various relationships and changes in Jen’s life were actually the highlights of Break in Case of Emergency. The relationships felt almost real and absolutely normal in a refreshing kind of way with believable ups and downs.

The foundation that Jen ended up working for was a source of occasional humor, but it was a toxic work environment. Really, the relationships are what kept me reading despite everything else, because I was curious to see where each character ended up by the end. The ending itself was alright, but I was already expecting it just based off everything I’d read up until that point.

So, Break in Case of Emergency wasn’t bad. And while it did fall short in some aspects, the family and friendship dynamics were great. So, this book had its highpoints, and I’ll give it that.

Rating 3/5

This copy of the book was provided by the publisher (First to Read) for this review, thank you!

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