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Sad Desk Salad: A Novel Paperback – October 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“Dishy, zingy, hilarious.” (Glamour)

“Fun . . . Grose takes what could be a heavy subject--ethical choices and their repercussions--and lightens it. . . An enjoyable debut with a message.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Rollicking . . . A quick-witted insider’s view of the blogosphere, media pandering, Internet privacy and the difficulty of being a good girl in a bad, bad world.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose is the Devil Wears Prada for the blogger age. A laser focused snapshot of our time, the novel gives readers an insider’s perspective on the 24/7 grindhouse of celebrity-obsessed new media. Funny and heartfelt, a must-read.”- (Valerie Frankel, author of Four of a Kind)

“Jessica Grose is a smart, engaging, new voice in fiction. She will make you think anew about celebrity culture, modern feminism, and the perils of living online. She is also very funny. So put your work aside, open your sad desk salad, and read this book!” (Amy Sohn, author of Motherland and Prospect Park West)

“A whip-smart, lacerating, laugh-out-loud look at what it’s like to be young, smart and trying to make it in the big city.” (Jennifer Weiner)

“Grose offers an affectionate send-up of the slovenly blogger stereotype, creating a quick-witted heroine who lusts after egg sandwiches and takes comfort in an extravagantly stinky muumuu...delivered with Grose’s appealing good humor...A sense of serendipity lingers over the adventures of new-media chick lit.” (New Republic)

From the Back Cover

As a writer for Chick Habit, an increasingly popular women's website, Alex Lyons gets paid to be a bitch. She's churning out several posts a day, and she saves her juiciest ones for blog prime time, when working women eat their sad desk salads in their offices. Alex tells herself she's fulfilling her dream of being a professional writer; so what if it means being glued to her couch and her laptop from six a.m. to six p.m., scouring the web in search of the next big celebrity scandal? Since Chick Habit's parent company keeps close tabs on page views, Alex knows her job is always at risk.

So when an anonymous tipster sends her the year's most salacious story—a politico's squeaky-clean Ivy League daughter caught in a very R-rated activity—it's a no-brainer. But is Alex really willing to ruin the girl's life by igniting the next Internet feeding frenzy? And what she doesn't yet realize is how this big scoop is about to send her own life spiraling out of control.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062188348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062188342
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,219,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a writer and editor. My essays and reported features have appeared in the New York Times, New York, Bloomberg Businessweek, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Slate and many other publications. I was formerly a senior editor at Slate and an editor at Jezebel. I live in Brooklyn with my husband and daughter and my permanent fascinations include true crime, powerful ladies, and bears.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Well, if you're reading this, you're connected online in some way - reading blogs, surfing websites, tweeting, posting etc. Now how much time do you spend online?

Alex Lyons, the main character in Jessica Grose's debut novel, Sad Desk Salad, spends a minimum of twelve hours a day online. She's a writer for Chick Habit - a women's website that skewers just about anything and everything. When Alex receives an anonymous email with a link to a blockbuster scoop, she has to decide if her job is worth more than her morals. For, the scoop may ruin another young woman's life. And is the job ruining hers?

It was interesting to see behind the scenes of an online site - the frenetic postings, the pressure to find the next scoop, to have the comments and stats needed to stay on top. Grose herself worked as an editor at Jezebel and Slate. Both publications bear a remarkable similarity to Chick Habit, so it truly seems like Grose has given us a real insider's look behind the curtain.

Grose raises interesting questions about our fascination with celebrity, gossip and the effect modern media has on our lives, using Alex as a vehicle. Sadly though, I just didn't like the main character. I found Alex to be shallow and self centred and very two dimensional. I identified more with her best friend Jane, who was more grounded and saw things with clearer eyes. Although Alex makes some personal revelations as the book progresses, they just came too late for this reader. (And I'm pretty grossed out by the fact that she doesn't bother showering and wears the same mu mu for nearly a week.)

There is a thinly veiled 'mystery' that kept me reading as I wanted answers. And, I wanted to know if Alex would reclaim her life. The final chapters do provide neat tying up of ends.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Katie on February 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked this looking for a light, funny, easy read and was very disappointed.

I was not able to enjoy this book at all, mostly due to how incredibly annoying and weak I found the main character narrating the story to be. I should be in the target demographic for this book, but while reading it instead of relating to the characters I felt disappointed and frustrated by how superficial, completely stereotyped, and self absorbed the characters seemed. The plot was not engaging, and while it seemed the author was trying to make a statement about personal privacy and the internet the narration of the main character got in the way, making that overarching theme seem trivial and petty.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Molly McDevitt on July 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was very excited by the premise of this book. An internet blogger dealing with the fallout of a post and how we aren't just anonymous and what we say and do even online has consequences. That we can't or shouldn't separate who we are in the world from who we are online and think it is okay to do something morally ambiguous because its coming from a keyboard and not face to face. All great ideas and could be thoughtful and insightful.

However, Alex, the protagonist of this story, is a whiny self-absorbed snot! Maybe I am too old to care about her 25 year old angst, but I don't think so, since I work in the high-tech industry as well as help my young adult children navigate the murky waters of the internet and social networking.

She is totally tortured over her choice to post a racy video of the daughter of a Sarah Palin type mother. She cry's to everyone, alienating them all. She treats her significant other like crap when she is in the wrong for having read his work documents that were confidential. She is unbelievably immature. I am sure there are a ton of people like Alex in the world, but if this is a week in the life...then she will be dead by her 30th birthday!

It was written in first person present as thought Alex is telling us this story, but for a writer she is not the best story teller. It's obvious the writer knows her world well and I think this story, if Alex had been a more likeable person, could have been very compelling. Instead it was just another self-absorbed 20-something living their life out-loud on the internet and then regretting it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen T. Hopkins VINE VOICE on December 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jessica Grose's debut novel, Sad Desk Salad, is a humorous excursion into the out-of-balance and conflicted life of a blogger. Protagonist Alex Lyons writes a gossip blog for the site Chick Habit. The pressure of feeding the blog with new posts leads Alex to bathe irregularly, dress in a dirty muumuu and eat a salad at her home desk when she has time to eat. She hopes her audience of women at work eating their own sad desk salads will generate lots of hits, especially for her lunchtime posts, because she fears losing her job. Her relationships experience the impact of her stress as she addresses the concerns of how much privacy the web allows. I found this novel to be funny in many places, while the subject matter allowed for a degree of seriousness. I expect the target audience for the novel is young women, so readers in that demographic should certainly sample an excerpt to see if this style is to your taste. For an older guy, this was not humorous enough to rate a recommendation for humor. If it is satire or parody, I didn't get it. I was mildly entertained as Grose took me in a lighthearted way into a world I know little about and to characters for whom I developed no empathy.

Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)
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