In a world where career women spend an amazing amount of energy putting in their forty to sixty hours every week at the office, Alexandra Koslow pulls in the reins with her debut novel, Slacker Girl.
Jane Cooper, a twenty-something art school graduate in New York City, has it all figured out. Much to the chagrin of her friends and the rest of corporate America. Jane belongs to one religion: leisure. Unfortunately for Jane, her idea of leisure, which includes breakfasting at her favorite café, occasionally working as a waitress, and clubbing until the sun comes up, eats up her financial resources. To maintain her leisurely lifestyle but with more money in her pocket, she accepts a corporate job as a relationship manager at a financial services firm, expecting to set her own bank-like hours.
When the firm’s numbers come in too low and the firm cleans house, somehow Jane’s job is spared in spite of her poor performance. Jane, who doesn’t realize why her boss, Ray Bowen, saved her job, decides to flit off to Florida with her recently-dumped best friend, Rebecka, because she believes she deserves a vacation.
While Jane is away on her poorly-timed but wildly enjoyable vacation, a bad turn of events at the office, prompts her to jump into action to save Ray’s career as well as her own. The question is, does Lazy Jane have what it takes to land a big new client and fast - and while she’s thousands of miles away from the office?
Slacker Girl has an appealing premise for those of us who often consider reducing our own work hours. The story is at times thought-provoking for working women who struggle balancing work with play. Koslow comedically hooks us in with that notion from the start. Told from Jane’s point of view, this humorous story is well-paced, with enough character development and tension to keep the reader engaged. Through Jane’s OCD-driven art projects, her lazy but cheerful attitude, and her relationship to the Universe, with whom she often converses, we have a good sense for Jane and where she’s headed. Her character is deftly drawn so that the reader sees that Jane’s friends seem to know her better than she knows herself.
This novel is primarily dialogue. The reader gets the sense that she is eavesdropping on every page. While there is nothing wrong with a lot of dialogue, it must remain true and serve the story well. Some of the dialogue in Slacker Girl is clever and witty enough to be quotable. However, some passages get bogged down in self-help mini-diatribes by the characters. Other dialogue would have served the story better as narrative description. Having the characters speak about their environment and themselves in order to paint the scene feels forced and takes away from the otherwise natural and enjoyable conversations.
This book might make for a nice light beach read before the summer ends, particularly for the younger woman out there who knows New York City. She may relate to the characters, the slang, and the locations just a bit more than the average reader.