Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Date: Sept. 2005
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Working in a world where a college degree qualifies her to make photocopies and color-coordinate file folders, twenty-four-year-old Girl is struggling to keep up with the essential trinity of food, shelter, and student loans. So when she finally lands the job of her dreams she ignores her misgivings and concentrates on getting the job done...whatever that may be.
Sharply observed and devastatingly funny, Citizen Girl captures with biting accuracy what it means to be young and female in the new economy. A personal glimpse into an impersonal world, Citizen Girl is edgy and heartfelt, an entertaining read that is startlingly relevant.
After the more-serious-than expected Roadside Religion and the suckier-than-expected 1602: New World, I decided my next book would have to be something light and frothy and enjoyable. I mentally reviewed my list of books I plan to read this year and gave due consideration to a couple of them, but ultimately I fell back on a book I first thought about reading way back in March: Citizen Girl. I'm not sure why I never got around to reading it at the time, but I'm sure there's a perfectly logical explanation.
Citizen Girl turned out to be not quite as light and frothy as I thought it would be — it turned out to be a rather sophisticated satire on feminism and corporate politics — but it was exceedingly enjoyable and very funny. Plus, it was a nice change of pace to read a novel featuring a twenty-something female protagonist who didn't make me feel like smacking her upside the head (cf. Mountain Betty, Getting Over Jack Wagner). I appreciated her ability to adapt to her situation and succeed in an ill-defined and constantly changing job without whining excessively about. Yeah, she was kind of needy, and I think she treated her boyfriend a little unfairly, but I didn't feel that her flaws overwhelmed the character. Indeed, they make her seem like, well, a real person. That in itself makes Citizen Girl a welcome change from a lot of books I've read; that it's also funny and smart makes it a real treasure.