Friday, September 23, 2011

A Review: Working It Out by Nicola May

Nicola May - Working It Out

When Was It Released?: 13th March 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: Nicola May was kind enough to send me a copy for review
Who Published It?:   Nicola has self published this novel
Number Of Pages:  336 pages

I recently, heard about Nicola May, a new self published author from a friend of mine, who had just finished reading her novel, Working It Out, and absolutely loved it.. I started to read a few reviews of the novel and was surprised that there was so much hype around a self published novel. I was intrigued to find out exactly why everyone was so excited about this novel and I knew then and there that I had to get my hands on a copy.

Working It Out is the story of Ruby, a thirty year old working in marketing, who suddenly gets made redundant. Ruby did not see the redundancy coming, and realises that she will have to prioritise her life. After working in a job, that she realises she never really enjoyed, Ruby is determined to find a job she does love. Ruby decides that in order to find her dream job she will take on twelve different jobs in twelve months to see if she can find what she is looking for. Along the way Ruby works as a nanny in the South of France, waiting tables in a buzzing café and catering to celebrities of years gone by in a retirement home. Along the way Ruby meets an assortment of men, including Gorgeous George and Balding Adam. The story looks at whether Ruby will find happiness, the right job and even perhaps the right guy along the way.

I fell in love with the idea behind this novel. The storyline of taking on twelve jobs in twelve months is so unique and different from anything I have seen before in a chick lit novel. I found that this idea hooked me and made me want to delve into this book straight away. Some of the jobs were regular one that many of us will have experienced, others a little more quirky. Nicola May managed to make every job that Ruby undertakes interesting and enjoyable to read about. My favourite job that Ruby took, would have to be the first, where Ruby works in a retirement home. The cast of characters Ruby meets there are colourful, yet Nicola May, manages to still bring the poignancy of the moment to the forefront of the readers mind without leaving the mood too sombre. I feel as though it is Nicola May’s humour, which she weaves through the story, which manages to make these moments more light hearted and easier to read about. This humour is present throughout the novel and while at times it is more of an undertone, at others it made me laugh out loud.

The main character Ruby was instantly likeable and I felt as though she could easily be one of my friends. At least I wanted her to be one of my friends! I found it so easy to connect with Ruby, and I thought that perhaps there is a little piece of all of us within her. She is likeable, humorous, caring and just an ordinary girl at heart. Along with Ruby, Nicola May, has created a wide cast of characters, for the reader to meet along Ruby’s journey. While some characters play a smaller role than others, I found that there were many, if not all, that I truly enjoyed reading about. My favourites would have to be Sam, Ruby’s brother, who is blind but seems to have a large amount joy for life and an incredibly positive attitude. I found Sam to be a very inspirational character. I also really enjoyed reading about Margaret, Ruby’s elderly neighbour, who provides Ruby with lots of advice and is a true friend, as well as Lucas, one of the residents of the retirement home. Lucas was a joy to read about, as he took the last moments of his life in his stride, while still being a very poignant character. Even though there are a large amount of characters within the novel, each is memorable enough to not get lost within the plot.

While many of the jobs that Ruby undertakes are described in detail, others are over in a few pages. While fitting twelve jobs into the pages of a novel means that some jobs need to be made less significant than others, I would have liked to see more of how Ruby fares in these other jobs too. I also found that at times Ruby seems to be a little too promiscuous for my liking. There are many different relationships that she becomes part of throughout the novel, with many different men involved. At times these relationships are only based on sex and nothing more. I felt that this made Ruby seem a little too loose with her morals, and felt that perhaps a couple of these encounters could have been taken out, without spoiling the plot or storyline in any way. 

Overall, I loved Working It Out and I have to admit I was a little sad when I reached the end of the novel! I cannot believe that this novel has not been snapped up by a big publishing house, as this is one of the freshest, most entertaining, feel good novels I have read this year. I would recommend anyone who is looking for a novel that will put a great big smile on your face to go out and buy this novel. I can guarantee you will not regret it! I cannot wait to read more from Nicola May and I am excited for what is to come from her in the future.

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