Review: Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose



Title: Sad Desk Salad

Author: Jessica Grose

Published: William Morrow October 2012

Synopsis: As a writer for Chick Habit, an increasingly popular women’s website, Alex Lyons gets paid to be a bitch. She’s churning out several posts a day, and she saves her juiciest ones for blog prime time, when working women eat their sad desk salads in their offices. Alex tells herself she’s fulfilling her dream of being a professional writer; so what if it means being glued to her couch and her laptop from six a.m. to six p.m., scouring the web in search of the next big celebrity scandal? Since Chick Habit’s parent company keeps close tabs on page views, Alex knows her job is always at risk. So when an anonymous tipster sends her the year’s most salacious story—a politico’s squeaky-clean Ivy League daughter caught in a very R-rated activity—it’s a no-brainer. But is Alex really willing to ruin the girl’s life by igniting the next Internet feeding frenzy? And what she doesn’t yet realize is how this big scoop is about to send her own life spiraling out of control.

Status: Read from October 04 to 05, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss}

My Thoughts:

Taking us behind the scenes of the world in which author Jessica Grose has forged her career, Sad Desk Salad gives a lighthearted insight into modern day tabloid journalism.

Alex Lyons is a blogger for Chick Habit, an online zine site focusing on celebrity gossip, fashion, pithy social commentary and controversial opinion. Responsible for publishing a dozen or more posts a day, Alex obsessively browses through Twitter, Facebook, her RSS feeds and news sites for inspiration from her couch, churning out pieces designed to attract the attention of Chick Habit’s readers. Sad Desk Salad traces a frenetic week in which Alex’s desperate desire to meet her quota (1 million hits a month), creates a conflict between her real and virtual life.

Caught up in her world of virtual drama, which includes being targeted by an anonymous ‘hater’ who sets up a blog “Breaking the Chick Habit” Alex fails to recognise the changes in her self that are putting a strain on her relationship with her boyfriend and friends.
Her perspective warped by her immersion in a arena that rewards controversy, gossip and scandal mongering, it isn’t until Alex posts a damning video that could do irreparable harm to the reputation of a young woman who is only a ‘celebrity’ by association with her politically ambitious mother that she is hit by a crisis of conscience and begins to reconsider what is important to her.

Grose keeps things light in Sad Desk Salad, it is often funny and sharp but unfortunately the novel lacked the insight I had hoped for. The author’s examination of the eroding boundaries between ‘public’ and ‘private’ arenas is superficial at best. Not exactly a surprise really considering the author’s own background as a writer and editor at sites just like the fictional Chick Habit, but disappointing that the potential of such a relevant social issue was left unexplored.

What Grose does do well is highlight society’s growing obsession with virtual connections. Alex doesn’t shower for days in the fear of missing an important text or email, her iPhone is her constant companion and her obsession with the virtual world overshadows her interactions with real people. Sadly Alex reminds me of at least a couple of women I know whose obsessive checking of Facebook and Twitter has stalled many a conversation.

Sad Desk Salad (so titled in reference to the meal women most often consume as they browse the internet during lunch at their desks) is a quick contemporary read. Largely amusing and socially relevant (especially if you are a blogger) it’s light entertainment for the igeneration.


Available to Purchase

@AmazonUS I @BookDepository I via Indiebound

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Fay
    Oct 07, 2012 @ 15:42:43

    Sounds like a fun read that wont take up too much time!



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