Review: The Operator by Gretchen Berg


Title: The Operator

Author: Gretchen Berg

Published: March 10th 2020, William Morrow

Status: Read March 2020, courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss


My Thoughts:

I had been looking forward to reading The Operator, expecting something light, and quirky, perhaps with a bit of an edge, in a wholesome 1950’s small town setting.

That’s not really what this is though. The Operator is satire, exploring the darker side of small town life that lurks beneath the veneer of respectability.

I struggled with The Operator, in large part because I didn’t much care much for the characters. The residents of Wooster, Ohio, or at least those with whom we spend the most time, Vivian and Betty, are mainly unpleasant, perpetually unsatisfied, small-minded women whose flaws are their own undoing. Vivian’s lifelong habit of eavesdropping, which she indulges freely as a telephone operator, proves the old adage, “eavesdroppers never hear any good of themselves”, true. While Betty, a spiteful, snob is ripe to learn, “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

Though I found the pacing a little slow and disjointed through the first half, the story has its moments as Vivian digs into the secrets being kept from her, exposing scandals far more serious than who has answered the door without makeup on, including premarital pregnancy, adultery, robbery, bigamy, and desertion.

Of additional interest, the author’s note reveals the story is loosely based on her own grandmother’s life and as such some elements of the story are rooted in fact, including the misspelled recipes, poems, and a news article.

I didn’t particularly enjoy The Operator, though I didn’t particularly dislike it either, it just wasn’t for me. It may be just what your looking for though.


Read a Sample

Available from William Morrow

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. alisbooks
    Mar 12, 2020 @ 04:54:00

    Sorry it wasn’t what you expected. Better luck with the rest of your reads this week!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Helen Murdoch
    Mar 12, 2020 @ 09:37:17

    Oh, I’m so sad that this one wasn’t good!



  3. fuonlyknew
    Mar 14, 2020 @ 02:42:55

    Too bad this didn’t work for you. It does sound interesting but probably not one for me.



  4. Davida Chazan
    Mar 14, 2020 @ 03:28:30

    Too bad. I loved every minute of it, and just posted my review on my blog. But as they say, no two people read the same book.

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  6. Verushka, an editor (@SydneyEditor1)
    Mar 16, 2020 @ 20:43:08

    Oh no! I adored this premise, so it sucks that it didn’t work out.

    Liked by 1 person


  7. Laurel-Rain Snow
    Mar 17, 2020 @ 03:01:18

    I don’t like being disappointed by a book. I hope to enjoy The Operator, but who knows? Sometimes my moods are to blame when I don’t like a book. The book Pretty As a Picture, which I read this week, was disappointing to me, but I didn’t hate it, either.

    Liked by 2 people


I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s