Hue’s Reviews: The Assistants

Rule #1: All important men have assistants. Rule #2: Men rule the world. Still. Rule #3: There is enough money. There is so much money.

Tina Fontana is a thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss–but after six years of making reservations and pouring drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, the glamour of working for a media company in New York has completely faded, but her student loan debt has not.

When a technical error with Robert’s expense report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her loans with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she hesitates. She’s always played by the rules, but this would be a life-changer. As Tina begins to fall down the rabbit hole of her morally questionable plan, other assistants with crushing debt and fewer scruples approach her to say that they want in. Before she knows it, she’s at the forefront of a movement that has implications far beyond what anyone anticipated.

Featuring an eclectic clan of coconspirators, a love interest far too handsome to be trusted, and a razor-sharp voice full of wry humor, The Assistants is a rallying cry for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid women who are asking themselves, How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants? – Goodreads

I’m not a friend to this book. Proceed with caution.

What I Liked

  • A compelling premise. Sticking it to the man by embezzling funds to cover student loan debts. Mine’s threw the roof and I could understand the desperation to clear such a heavy albatross over one’s head.
  • I won this book in a giveaway.

What I Disliked

  • Writing. Flat, in need of editing (Ironic considering its author’s an Esquire editor), and boring. Dialogue’s minimal, dis-enabling readers to grasp characterization further. More so, I had trouble distinguishing timelines. Seasons? Days? Missed opportunities.
  • Bland characters. You create a good premise with bland characters. I can dig a good story with unlikable characters. But, when both’s bad, you lose me. I had no one to root for in this story, despite understand desperation and student debt.
  • Tina, the main character, is 30 years old, but reads 21. I would not believe her to be her age at all. She does idiotic things, I wouldn’t expect a thirty-something to do, like have someone squat in their house. Besides, why is she still an assistant after six years?
  • The plot, while promising, reads as a three-episode arc of a bad Aaron Spelling show. Will the Feds catch Brenda, Kelly, and Donna in the act? Will Donna finally do the deed with Kevin (Tina’s boyfriend)?
  • Plot holes galore. One example: Tina’s hinted at being a Lesbian; yet, she conveniently gets Kevin, an unbelievably hot guy (Trust. It’s mentioned every time he appears), who she would never hooked up with realistically.
  • Where’s the humor? For a story advertising wry humor, I counted one laugh and I cannot remember why I snickered.
  • New York City’s the setting. But, without a few choice descriptions, you’d wouldn’t know. How do you fail to make a great city a character in itself. How do you ignore NYC? Gentrification. Hipsters. Class struggle. Weak attempts at something real without substance.
  • For a book lasting 279 pages, I needed more than four days to get through it. RED ALERT!
  • Pop cultural references swallowed more time than deserved. We get it. You know things. But, they date your book and come off as smug. Your winks at hipness belies a lack of coolness.
  • Her crime is hand-waved by it’s neat-as-a-bow ending. Maybe it’s a tale about college-educated white girls getting away with their crimes (Yes. They say so numerous time). By the end, I failed to care.
  • Did I mention the author’s an editor? Go figure.

Final Thoughts

Editors and writers work best as separate entities. Sometimes, meshing the two roles hurt readers. Do not bother unless you enjoy hate reading.

Verdict: 1/5 Cups of bland coffee, no sugar and no milk.

*I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway*

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. yikes! This does not sound good! And I think it’s such a shame that it’s in need of an edit, even though it was written by an editor- like I said- yikes!!

    Like

    1. Big disappointment. Sometimes writers can edit and editors can write. What I read demonstrated how some folks should stay in one lane.

      Liked by 1 person

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