Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
Oof. I don’t know what to say. I think this book was supposed to be about the death or journalism and impostor syndrome. However, it jumped all around and I maybe went am I supposed to care about this or no? And then it had a weird ending and then love and I maybe went ah well at least I am done. I loved so many of Liza Palmer’s older works and now I am feeling iffy about reading her anymore. The main character didn’t grab me and I wish that she had done a fish out of water storyline with chick lit elements. I would have eaten that all up.
“The Nobodies” follows Joan Dixon as she starts a new job as a junior copywriter for a new tech company called Bloom. We find out that Joan is in her late 30s and until recently had a job as a journalist. However, stories/jobs dried up and her writing doesn’t seem to be hitting the same beats anymore. Starting at Bloom Joan starts again and she finds something she didn’t have before, a solid group of work friends. However, Joan starts wondering about Bloom and starts digging to find out what the founders of Bloom are really up to.
So here’s the thing. The book positions you to like Joan, but I honestly felt exhausted by her. She beats herself up about every last thing. We get that she feels like a failure with having to leave her chosen career behind, but I didn’t get hard hitting journalist from her. I was actually surprised that Palmer had her as only having a high school degree and somehow turning a story from high school into her getting hired by a major newspaper. It just felt off. And when Palmer talks about some of the stories she worked on I didn’t get it. Her digging into Bloom was boring to me and I liked it better when she was hanging with friends and dealing with her new love interest.
I thought the development of the coworkers (Thorton, Hani, and Elise) was very good. I got very quickly that they were a great core group and they all worked very well together. I wish that Palmer had developed Joan’s parents a little more (beyond they are nursery owners) and her brother. And even her best friend Lynn needed more development I thought.
The writing was good, I think though reading about Joan and her constant doubts was exhausting after a while. You find out that her problem is that she doesn’t get that she’s good enough (impostor syndrome) and that she has a hard time with actually going forward and being good and believing in herself. I think that’s a good message, I just needed the storyline to be tighter. Focusing so much on Bloom, servers, etc. made my head spin. And this is from someone who gets how servers work. It was just boring and I even went does this matter a few times.
The ending totally made me laugh. I don’t know. I think Palmer is trying to say something about how the tech culture is toxic, full of lies, and also how in the end it doesn’t matter because people don’t pay attention past a 24 hour news cycle. However, we have our young quad planning on taking evil tech bro down. It was a weird way to go.