30 November 2011

Book Review: Working It Out by Nicola May

Ruby Matthews has a plan. Twelve jobs in twelve months, until she finds the one of her dreams...

After an unexpected redundancy, Ruby begins to question her priorities. Inspired by a quote from Kahlil Gibran about loving your work, she launches her mission to find the ideal job.

Her year of gainful (and sometimes painful!) employment includes nannying for clients in the South of France; dealing with embarrassing ailments in a Harley Street Clinic; waiting tables in a buzzy Soho cafe; and meeting the celebs of years gone by in a home for retired actors. And even though love is no longer top of her list, relationships just seem to start happening along the way - which sees her handing out some P45s of her own!

But will any of the jobs, or men she meets, see her dreams come true? Or will Ruby just end up back where she started?

I have to confess and say that I don't usually read self-published novels, as they really can be a bit hit and miss and I have enough trouble squeezing the ones from publishers into my reading schedule! However, Nicola May's new book Working It Out has received some really great reviews from both authors and other bloggers, and it really left me intrigued about this book. Luckily, Nicola was lovely and wanted to send me a review copy so I decided to give it a go, after all, all these reviewers couldn't be wrong could they?! I do have to say that the cover is pretty good for a self-published book, one of the better ones I've seen actually, and the quality of the book itself is fantastic, there is nothing there that would put you off reading it as a self-published novel at all!

The story is led by our character Ruby Matthews, and the book is told in the first person so we really get to know her well as the story progresses. I do tend to like books written this way as I just feel more involved in them, and I think May made a really good choice here. I did like Ruby right from the start, she didn't wallow around once she lost her job and started to go straight out there and get another one, something I really liked. Although I liked Ruby, there was one aspect of her that I didn't like and that was her way with men. She is rather, shall we say, promiscuous in this book, and I wasn't too keen on that to be honest, she doesn't seem to put much thought into jumping into bed with a variety of men, whether it's safely or not and I'm not sure that's the right sort of thing to be promoting in fiction, and this is really the only aspect of Ruby I really didn't like. Other than that, she's great and really gives all her jobs a go, and her friendship with her elderly neighbour is lovely.

Her idea of 12 jobs in 12 months is a really great one, and certainly made for interesting reading. Due to the fact that the book isn't overly long, and 12 jobs in a year is a lot to get through, some jobs get more page time than others, which is a bit of a shame as I'd have loved a bit more detail about those and less about Ruby's escapades with the various males in the book if I'm honest! My favourite job of Ruby's was at the care home, and I thought these were the best scenes of the book, and Ruby's friendship with the residents, especially Lucas, was really touching, and certainly showed that sometimes these older people have more to them than meets the eye. The other jobs include a sexual health clinic (hilarious), an old café (charming), and a party planner's assistant (fun) amongst others, although none stand out as much as the old people's home for me. This job kept coming back to haunt (in a good way) Ruby throughout the book and I liked how it had knock-on effects on her. I do quickly want to mention another of my favourite characters here, Ruby's brother Sam. He's blind, and is the first blind character I've come across in chick lit, he was so well-written and lovely, and I really loved Ruby's relationship with him too.

Overall I thought this was a very enjoyable book, and I think Nicola May is going to be a chick lit author to look out for. It's a strong novel, well written and enjoyable to read with good characters, and a great plot, and I can see why so many people have enjoyed it. If you don't normally read self-published novels, much like me, put your prejudices aside and give this a go. Yes, there are a few bits that could do with some tighter editing and I found some of May's writing to be a bit too crude (I HATE the c-word in chick lit and it was totally unnecessary in this book, and really annoyed me that Nicola May had chosen to include it actually) but other than that, it's an enjoyable read that I can definitely recommend. Like I said, ignore the fact that it's self-published and just allow yourself to sit down and enjoy a really good story.

You can buy Working It Out in paperback and on eBook/Kindle now


  1. I think it's good that you have reviewed a self-published book. I think there are a lot of prejudices when it comes to self-published novels and that's a shame. Although books that are actually published may have more credibility with readers, that does not necessarily mean they are well-written. Btw, I love to discover new voices and authors.

  2. I love the concept of this one...I am sort of going through a work crisis right now myself...wish I could try out 12 jobs in 12 months!

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

  3. A great review for Nicola and yes, self-published authors are worth checking out! The lovely Talli Roland is now self-published and Chloe will be reviewing my latest book soon. Lots of talent worth a read!

  4. I loved this book it is full of humour. I do agrre about the self published authors being hit or miss, I have found a few gems though xx