Rating: 4 / 5
Liza Palmer’s The Nobodies is the hilariously satirical and heartfelt story of a 30-something journalist whose journalism career becomes stagnant, forcing her to start over as a copyright at a trendy LA tech company.
Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for sending me an advanced copy of this wonderful novel.
Joan loves being a journalist, but – as luck would have it – journalism does not seem to love her so much. The corrupt local dry cleaner story she’s been pouring over hasn’t gotten any bites, and she’s desperate for money. She moved back in with her parents and must face it – at this point, she has to take any job that will have her.
When she interviews for an entry-level copyright job at the most cringe-worthy millennial tech company in the city, she immediately hates everything about it. From the stupid names of the conference rooms to the overly-sincere young man at Reception – she doesn’t want this. But they offer her the job and she must take it.
This company is odd, and not just because their head of HR wears two hats – one forwards and one back. She has no idea what the company actually does, but because she’s a journalist through and through, her confusion turns into a hunch and her hunch into a plan of action to uncover the truth – if there is anything to uncover.
Oh man – The Nobodies is hilarious! Understated and wonderfully snarky, the humor was absolutely perfect for me. That and the sincerity of all the characters were my favorite parts of this novel. Genuinely, if nothing had happened and Joan just kept shitting on her company and meeting new people, I would have devoured this book all the same.
That said, the plot was interesting, but didn’t necessarily blow me away. The story, at its core, is about a woman trying to cope with change and failure and trying to find herself again. Palmer does a fantastic job of developing our heroine and her desires, downfalls, struggles, and insecurities. Joan is completely relatable – even to a millennial, a group that she lovingly mocks throughout the book. The plot – an investigation into this tech company – is secondary to the wonderful character development and writing, but it is compelling. Wanting answers to the investigation keeps you reading to the end, but the wonderful characters, rooting for Joan to find herself, and the humor sustain you throughout.
I sometimes find making fun of millennial culture to be such lazy humor, but that is 1000000% not the case with this novel. Palmer’s commentary is sharp and thoughtful, as well as hilarious. Joan ultimately finds herself loving the silly millennails she works with – and for – and it is so heartwarming.
A *chef’s kiss* to Liza Palmer for creating the most delightful characters and writing with such wit and truth. If she wrote a sequel with these characters, I would devour it – no questions asked. This is a delightful, thoughtful book, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on The Nobodies. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!