Contemporary

The Assistants by Camille Perri

It’s been a while since I read a book just for laughs. I think the last one was probably a Stephanie Plum novel. Either way, it’s been long overdue, and when I heard about this novel, I thought it would be the perfect time to give it a shot. So here we go!

Tina Fontana has been working as an assistant to Robert Barlow for 6 years. Now, most people would think that working for the all-powerful CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate, would be a fantastic job with excellent pay. But it isn’t. While Tina is adored by her boss, at the end of the day, she is bored and broke and just frustrated by her life. When a technical error with Robert’s expenses report gives Tina an opportunity to pay off her entire student loan, she hesitates. While this sum of money would be life-changing for her, to Robert it would just be pocket change. But Tina has never broken the rule, which is what has made her such an exemplary assistant. After much deliberation, Tina takes the plunge and does the unthinkable – she pays off her debt and doesn’t tell anyone. She thinks she’s gotten away with it, and puts this one transgression away. Little does she know that someone has noticed, and they’re not done with Tina just yet.

This novel is not believable in any way. There is no way Tina (and the rest of the assistants that become involved) could ever have gotten away with something like this. But I still loved reading this book. It was funny and ridiculous and had so many interesting characters that I couldn’t help but fall in love with them and the story. In some ways, there is some truth to it: the wealthy are REALLY wealthy, and a college education doesn’t always cut it anymore. There is a lot of student debt and most people will spend a good chunk of their life working towards paying it off. However, this funny scheme that Tina gets involved in makes it a little easier to deal with these truths, and that’s what I liked the most about it.

Tina’s character is not your traditional protagonist. She isn’t fiery or spunky or a do-gooder. She’s awkward, and weird, and not confident at all. Reading from her perspective was refreshing because there were times in the story when I thought to myself “She’s just like me!” The other characters were also interesting, even if sometimes they had a very stereotypical role.

The one negative that I will mention is that I felt the ending was just a bit too clean, and the money scheme itself was a little too hard to believe. If the scheme had been a bit more realistic, and the ending had been a bit more drawn out rather than convenient, it would have made the story a little stronger.

In the end, I had a great time reading this light story about the struggles of young working girls in a corporate environment. Their plan was crazy, and they themselves were crazy, and it just made for a fun ride! If you are looking for something ridiculous and light-hearted, then go no further than this book! I guarantee it will show you a good time!

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