Citizen Girl. Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin

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9780141014012: Citizen Girl. Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin

Working in a world where a college degree qualifies her to make photocopies and color-coordinate file folders, twenty-four year old girl is struggling to keep up with the essential trinity of food, shelter, and student loans. So when she finally lands the job of her dreams she ignores her misgivings and concentrates on getting the job done! whatever that may be. Sharply observed and devastatingly funny, "Citizen Girl" captures with biting accuracy what it means to be young and female in the new economy. A personal glimpse into an impersonal world, "Citizen Girl" is edgy and heartfelt, an entertaining read that is startlingly relevant.

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Review:

Citizen Girl is the sophomore effort from Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, whose Nanny Diaries sent Park Avenue mothers running for cover and catapulted the duo to cult-like status amongst gossip literature's elite. This time around, our heroine is Girl, a twentysomething women's studies major whose liberal arts education led her to believe that saving women from worldwide oppression was as easy as reporting for duty at her local feminist non-profit. As Girl soon learns, no job is ever as it seems, and even the director of the Center for Equity in Community is not free from manipulating her staff in order to get ahead. As we follow Girl through unemployment and an eventual position as the Director of Rebranding Knowledge Acquisition for My Company, McLaughlin and Kraus invite readers on a raucous journey though the ups and downs of early 21st Century corporate life.

While at times disjointed and overly crass, Citizen Girl certainly has its moments. Most post-grad women will be able to identify with Girl on at least some level, whether it be returning to Career Services with her tail between her legs or forgiving her boyfriend for hiring a stripper at his best friend's bachelor party. ("I turn to find Buster slumped on my front stoop, soaked to the skin behind a proffered bouquet of hopeful white tulips.")

Some readers may tire of Girl's particular combination of naiveté and idealism after the first 50 pages, and the blatant stereotypes may wear thin after a while (Girl's boss at My Company is named Guy, and the woman they hire to turn things around is called Manley). Still, Girl's story is intriguing enough that by the end of the book, most of us will be rooting for her as she negotiates her way through the tumultuous battlefield that often is corporate America. --Gisele Toueg

From the Inside Flap:

"[A] hyperventilating satire. ... witty and biting..." Publisher's Weekly

"[A] perfectly fine send-up." New York Observer

"The best-selling authors of The Nanny Diaries return with another mordant satire--this time they skewer self-important personalities of the twenty-first-century workplace." -Teen Vogue

"A satire about staying true to one’s values while also staying employed, [Citizen Girl] is meatier and more engaging than "Diaries"—think "The Beauty Myth" meets "Sex and the City. ... McLaughlin and Kraus keep us amused."—Austin American-Statesman

"Ms. McLaughlin and Ms. Kraus have created a readable, lively book ... an entertaining read that puts in perspective just how crazy all workplaces are. Whether they’re for profit or nonprofit, no one seems to know what they’re doing. And they certainly can’t communicate it to their underlings, much less the board of directors. That bit of social commentary in itself makes this book a welcome addition to its genre: instead of a decent husband, our heroine seeks a sane boss. Funny that they’re equally elusive."—The New York Sun

"McLaughlin and Kraus deftly satirize postfeminist, postmodern, twenty-first-century America, using management jargon and hipster slang with equal precision. More remarkable is the subtlety with which Girl's story moves from the dreary-yet-familiar world of demanding bosses and unrewarding work into the realm of nightmares. The authors have conjured up a vision of America that's just this side of dystopian, and their funhouse-mirror worldview generates its own strange suspense. Given the runaway success of their Nanny Diaries (2002), expect high demand for this unsettling novel." —Booklist

"Not only will this latest comic adventure appeal to the thousands of less-than-affluent urbanites who laughed through the duo's best-selling debut, "The Nanny Diaries," but it would also seem to be a natural for young working women dealing with crazy bosses and shifting job descriptions." Boston Globe

"Many, many funny lines... . Girl's job-hunting woes will resonate with lots of readers." -Kirkus Reviews

"These young authors have a knack for comedy, and there are priceless scenes here, some set at career fairs and in the halls of NYU, that will delight cubicle dwellers everywhere." -Hampton family life

"GIRL is punctuated with the same biting wit that brought Nanny and Mrs. X to life and made their first novel a stand out in a crowd of books written by and for young women." -Ingram Advance

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Nicola Kraus, Emma McLaughlin
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