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Sad Desk Salad: A Novel Paperback – October 2, 2012
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“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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
In addition, I found the author's entire style somewhat akin to what a high schooler would write in their journal. Here are two quotes from the text that best highlight this aspect of her writing:
On her boyfriend - "I never thought I would find joy in planning and cooking meals for someone (so Suzy Homemaker!), but I love Peter so much that I relish the idea of nourishing him. I'd like to think that he inspires me to be a better person."
After an embarrassing video is posted online - "I am trying to be funny, but I am actually hurt by all this. I joined Causing Treble my first day of freshman year. I was in choir in high school, and it hadn't yet occurred to me that I didn't need to bring everything about my high school persona to college."
She was always TELLING not SHOWING. It read as an amateur's writing.
I couldn't get past the poor writing or the whining to get to the main plot that is teased on the jacket - an anonymous tip for a salacious story! - but I assume it's written just as poorly as the rest of the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was a little like reading Jezebel on your lunch break, not super deep, or overly complex. but with some really fun writing and likeable, relatable characters. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Laura Spear
This was a really fun and fast read. The story is not life-changing or anything, but I'd definitely recommend if you're looking for something to read on a plane or a beach that is... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Nikki McCauley
This is a quick, light read. Gave me some insight into what the blogging world looks like, but without any real depth.Published 17 months ago by Danielle
it was ok. I really wanted to like it because I love grosse. I'd be interested in reading her next book.Published 20 months ago by Tasha sookochoff
Reviewed by Robin
Book provided by the publisher for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
Before you have your coffee in the morning you have... Read more
I thought the title and cover was funny and honestly, that's why I bought it. It was a fun read... I liked reading about the pro blogger lifestyle. Read morePublished on August 3, 2014 by Kerri Arista
This book was especially disappointing because it started out so well. I had hopes of an entertaining yet au courant read about the joys and terrors of internet publishing. Read morePublished on June 17, 2014 by G. Maisano
This book took place over a week. It felt longer. Nothing too exciting happened. What little drama there was wasn't too dramatic. I didn't connect with Alex. Read morePublished on June 16, 2014 by Pam
Had to read/push myself through this book for an English class in College. I didn't find it very funny (was a "satire/humor" writing class). Read morePublished on March 20, 2014 by nick