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I Hope This Finds You Well: A Novel de…

I Hope This Finds You Well: A Novel (edição: 2024)

de Natalie Sue (Autor)

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993279,096 (3.94)3
Trapped between petty revenge and a life-changing opportunity, Jolene navigates coworker drama, hidden secrets and forbidden feelings to save her job, risking exposure of an email vendetta and the walls she's built around her heart.
Título:I Hope This Finds You Well: A Novel
Autores:Natalie Sue (Autor)
Informação:William Morrow (2024), 352 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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I Hope This Finds You Well de Natalie Sue


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I Hope This Finds You Well by Natalie Sue is a heartwarming character-driven novel and a promising debut.

In the eight years thirty-three-year-old Iranian Canadian Jolene Smith has been employed at Supershops Incorporated, she has kept mostly to herself, limiting her interactions with her coworkers to work-related matters. Her method of coping with the stress of her job as an administrative assistant and tensions with her coworkers involves adding a text note in her emails in invisible white font wherein she vents her true feelings. Unfortunately, a careless mistake on her end gets her into trouble, resulting in mandatory sensitivity training with the new HR gut, Cliff and restrictions on her internet activity and office email. However, an IT mix-up grants her access to her coworkers’ emails and DMs – information that affords her insight into the goings on in the office and what her coworkers think about her and one another. Though she initially decides to inform HR about the mix-up, she eventually begins to use the information she garners to her advantage. Learning about the lives of her coworkers - their secrets and struggles-inspires her to take stock of her own life and embark on a journey of self-discovery.

The narrative is presented from Jolene’s first-person PoV along with email and DM transcripts. With complex characters and an interesting premise, this is a smartly crafted novel. The pacing is on the slower side, which suits the nature of the story. The author writes with humor and heart. The strength of this novel lies in the character development and realistic depiction of interpersonal dynamics both within the workplace and otherwise. The supporting characters are well thought out (even the unlikable ones) and realistic. The subplots are deftly woven into the primary narrative and I really liked how the author brings everything together. The author addresses sensitive themes, including mental health, trauma, addiction and terminal illness with sensitivity and compassion. Jolene’s journey is not an easy one and her backstory broke my heart. Though I didn’t always agree with Jolene’s actions, I was invested in her journey and sympathized with her plight ( and enjoyed her observations) as she navigated work pressures, workplace politics, familial expectations (and her Persian aunty network), her feelings for Cliff, past trauma and much more all the while conflicted over own decision to conceal the truth. I was happy with how the author chose to end the story and it was heartening to see how Jolene gradually opens up to new experiences and grows as a person. Please note that though the author balances the serious themes in this novel with a healthy dose of humor, this novel isn’t exactly a light-hearted read.

Overall, I found this to be an engaging read and I look forward to more from this talented new author in the future!

Many thanks to William Morrow for the digital review copy via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. ( )
  srms.reads | Jun 12, 2024 |
Our fmc Jolene struggles with anxiety and is disconnected from her co-workers at her dead-end job. She meets Cliff from HR after she is discovered secretly adding phantom white-fonted postscripts on her inter-office emails in a cathartic effort to privately air grievances with her co-workers. After 8 years in a soulless job, she barely interacts with any of her colleagues. She seems to suffer from social anxiety and anxiety in general, and there are hints of a mysterious tragic past, which made me wonder if continuing to work at her horrible job with what she considers sub-par humans is a form of self-flagellation. (Although I think many of us can relate to just tolerating your co-workers and working a thankless job that is most definitely *not* a fulfilling career.) Some technical hi-jinks ensue, leading Jolene to have full access to her co-worker's emails and inter-office communications. What will Jolene do with all of this forbidden information? What lines would you be tempted to cross in that situation, and would you actually do it? It turns into quite a ride for both Jolene and for Cliff.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't enjoy a book like this due to the excessive collateral anxiety I'd experience on behalf of the characters. And make no mistake, there are a lot of cringe-inducing events in this book. But they're written so earnestly and, at times, with such great comedic absurdity that they're a delight to read. I love the progression of the supporting characters as Jolene learns more about her co-workers, as she (and we as readers) see them evolve from one-dimensional quasi-adversaries to actual human beings with lives and personalities and problems. I also really love the author's comedic timing (Jolene's inner snark is fantastic), her ability to almost trick us into liking semi-unlikable characters, and her knack for weaving both emotional tension and hopefulness into the story. The complexity of the supporting characters almost make this seem like an ensemble story although it's very definitely Jolene's story. This was a fun debut story, and I will absolutely read this author again!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this story, this is my honest and objective review. ( )
  bethbordenk | May 28, 2024 |
Okay, you know that feeling you get when you start to read a debut novel - and you can't put it down? Yeah, that's what happened to me when I started to read I Hope This Finds You Well by Natalie Sue.
Jolene works as an admin for a large company. She does her best to hide in her pod, and interacts with the other staffers as little as she possibly can. Which works out, as they ignore her. Jolene has a way she uses to get back at them, but it backfires on her. She's now on HR's radar. But....someone in HR has messed up - and Jolene can see everyone's email - and what they're really thinking. Hmm, there are so many ways this tale could go...

Having worked in similar setting, I could empathize with Jolene. I was appalled and angered by the treatment she received from the others. Sue has filled the office with easily identifiable personalities. (I has some flashbacks from the television show The Office.)

Sue takes us home with Jolene as well. What is happening at work is only one issue. She's also carrying trauma from her past and there's pressure from her Persian family to get married and do well at work.

Now, it might sound like heavy reading, but it is - and it isn't. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud. Rather than think 'heavy' I think of it as introspective and taking back yourself. I think that everyone that reads this book will recognize something that speaks to them.

I Hope This Finds You Well is a wonderful debut, one I can easily recommend. ( )
1 vote Twink | May 24, 2024 |
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Trapped between petty revenge and a life-changing opportunity, Jolene navigates coworker drama, hidden secrets and forbidden feelings to save her job, risking exposure of an email vendetta and the walls she's built around her heart.

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