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CITIZEN GIRL by Emma McLaughlin


by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7432-6685-4
Publisher: Atria

A feminist fable (with a heroine named Girl) from The Nanny Diaries (2002) team.

Girl goes to college. Girl graduates. Girl is hired by a New York activist for women and can’t help wondering why she’s treated like a slave. Did she need a college degree to file and make photocopies for self-righteous, post-menopausal types who think nothing of bursting into her bathroom stall? Plus it’s unbearably humiliating to take orders from gray-haired, pear-shaped women dressed in dowdy black and purple with matching clogs and unsuitably ethnic accessories. Maybe they were cool 30 years ago but not anymore. Girl decides to look for a fabulous new job, along with eight million other people in a nose-diving economy. Okay, she’ll settle for any job. Hey, what about an Internet concern that hopes to add a critical core of affluent, intelligent women to their marketing database? Surely Girl could “leverage”—that brave new word—her brief experience and few contacts into a position there. She wangles an interview with Guy, a smooth talker who more or less runs My Company on the steam generated by all his hot air. Can she sell tampons? You bet—to men. Can she create buzz? Will do—just give her a desk. Guy does. So Girl goes to work, pretty much nonstop, though she manages to have some fun with Buster, a he-man who loves hockey and burlesque shows and is useful for scaring off landlords who videotape bedroom action. Back to My Company: profits are down. Girl gets to fire dozens of people but she stays on, until a bitchy higher-up informs her that from now on MC will offer only XXX-rated content to get its share of the megabillions generated by Internet porn. Is Girl interested? Good old Buster advises her to take the job. Girl finally figures out just how much everything sucks.

Many, many funny lines, somewhat incoherent plot. But Girl’s job-hunting woes will resonate with lots of readers.