Serena Mackesy The Temp

ISBN 13: 9780099409878

The Temp

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9780099409878: The Temp

We all know how it works: first you go to School, then you go to University, and then you enter Real Life. And that's the important bit. Real Life is about achievement, recognition, choices. It's about a boss who trusts you, a wardrobe that suits you, friends who support you and a relationship that fulfils you. It`s a mobile phone, an expense account, a company car and a place to park it. Happily Ever After.

Unforunately, Real Life isn't working that way for The Temp. She's managed the university bit, but the job, the dough and the happily-ever-after seem harder than anybody ever told her. Living in Stockwell while she moves through a series of jobs ranging from the horrifying mindless to the bemusingly witless to the simply extraordinary, she realises that something isn't right.

Who cares about a boss who trusts you? She'd settle for a boss who knows her name. This can't be Real Life, can it?

Building on the success of her INDEPENDENT column, Serena Mackesy has created a wonderfully witty, acerbic exposé of office anthropology and a genuinely moving story about the early-twenties doldrums.

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Review:

Sasha never intended to be a temp: "My school wanted us to go to university, as though that would, aside from keeping them up in the league tables, be the magic formula. "You don't want to end up typing for a living," they said. So I went to university, got the degree and bingo, here I am typing for a living anyway."

It's a year since she left university. After six months travelling with chinless boyfriend Matthew, they've ended up in a house owned Sasha's oldest and best friend--and former boy-band sex-god--Ben Cameron, along with layabout Craig, housing advice worker Donna, and city-type Tania, who writes her name on milk cartons, and throws a fit if someone chucks out her flat champagne. "Between us we have notched up five degrees, two careers, one ex-career, three dope habits, two years on the dole and, so far this year, sixteen jobs, fourteen of them done by me."

Alongside hilarious tips and observations on work life--including step-by-step instructions for holidaying PAs on how to make their temporary replacement's life hell and how to get fit by filing inefficiently, thinking and taking up smoking in a non-smoking office--this clever, witty, well-constructed novel also packs in a nail-biting, page-turner of a plot, some shocking and moving bits, revenge, romance and a sly poke at all those trashy novels aimed at twenty-somethings. "Giles or Luke? Penny couldn't decide. All she knew was that being a successful model/editor/advertising executive/film producer/private detective was not proving to be as fulfilling as she had expected. What do you do when you've got everything but all you want is love?". --Lisa Gee

From the Author:

invisibility has its uses
Temping means: invisibility, boredom, poverty. It's a life of trailing from office to office where everyone assumes you're thick and the person you're replacing has carried out small acts of sabotage to ensure that their opinion stays that way. It's being called "Um" to your face and "The Temp" to your back, it's never knowing where the sandwich shop is. It's watching people glaze with boredom at parties, praying that the weekly cheque won't be late, laughing in the face of pension funds. Temping's a dog's life: everyone knows that. Then again, it's anonymity, and anonymity is power. It's the freedom to observe without being observed, to slip from place to place without anyone knowing more about you, to know that, once you've left a place, you've also left their memories. And if you've got revenge in mind, anonymity is the strongest weapon in your armoury. This is my first novel.

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Serena Mackesy
Published by Arrow 07/10/1999 (1999)
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