Not Working – Lisa Owens

Claire quits her job to figure out what she wants to do in life. She has some savings and very supportive boyfriend. It seems like a dream come true to finally have all the time needed to understand oneself and find the perfect job.

As can be expected it all goes south almost immediately. Claire instead of discovering her new self struggles to get anything done. She watches TED talks, does countless quizzes, but really has no idea how to go about finding her vocation or anything that would interest her at all. Soon she slides further down to days spent in pj’s and next on is the booze. Her boyfriend is incredibly patient, her mother not so much and gradually her life is so different from the lives of her friends that it is difficult to keep the connection.

The tone of the book reminded me a bit the Bridget Jones’s Diary – desperate, failing all the time, a bit drunk, but also funny. Probably not the most ambitious book of the year, but not painful to read.

It made me think about how much our self confidence is related to being active. How people have this need to be needed, to have a purpose. How quickly we feel worthless if other people, our work, the world doesn’t need us or just simply leaves us in peace. It’s almost as if we mean something only in relation to other people and their needs and expectations.

On one hand we all probably have this picture of a perfect life in our minds, who we would become if only we had the time to get on with it, on the other here is a reason why it has not happened yet. It is difficult to get motivated if something needs to be done only for me; people easily do things for others, go out of their way for their family, friends, work – other people. But to motivate ourselves to get something done only for us is not easy. Like cooking a meal for one person, no one wants to go to the effort of preparing a proper meal if it’s going to be eaten only by them, we’d usually just settle for something quick and simple, I think it works like this with other things too. It my sound a bit wrong but I think we all need to be more selfish, not in the meaning of not caring about other people, but in the meaning of caring about ourselves, making the effort to make ourselves happy. It is hard work, as this book definitely describes.


This is book #7 of my 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746books.

Thanks to Picador for providing me a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska

2 thoughts on “Not Working – Lisa Owens

  1. I think you’re right about the link between confidence/activity. It’s finding that balance between being productively active as opposed to just ‘busýness’. For various reasons I’m not working much this year and, at the same time, took a year off study – I’m busy (all family related stuff) but feel like the year has been such a waste.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: July round-up –

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