Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: The Brenda Diaries

We're back!

To welcome 2012, we kick it off with the newest from Margo Candela--The Brenda Diaries.

Meet Brenda. A temp with a bad attitude, but an excellent work ethic.

Working assignments all around Los Angeles, Brenda was the official purse holder for a high powered event planner, has had an employer ask about her ovulation cycle, worked as a kiosk gypsy at an upscale mall and suffered as the reluctant muse for a frustrated architect who'd rather write screenplays on company time.

Off the clock, Brenda's boyfriend and best friend compete for her attention while she spends a little too much time with guy she met on a job. Brenda’s positive she can handle it all, but sometimes work and life get to be a bit too much even for someone as organized as Brenda.

The Brenda Diaries. All the dirty details of Brenda’s not so tidy life.

Reviewed by: Sandra L.
Review: Meet Brenda, a temp office assistant living from paycheck to paycheck, reflecting on how much work sucks. In her diary, we get to know all the day-to-day aspects of her world.

I liked Brenda a lot. She’s a savvy, intelligent woman with strong work ethics, but she doesn’t have life quite figured out. Who does, right? Still, the girl struck me as someone with a good head on her shoulders. At times, I suspected that Brenda suffered from a low self-esteem. Why else would she work at jobs with no possibility of advancement? Why else would she “date” a guy and not really care for him? It all seems like a waste of time to me. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed her no-BS views on life, I just wished Brenda would’ve spent a little more time trying to figure out ways to make herself happy. I honestly don’t get why smart girls don’t give themselves the respect they deserve. But I must say that even though I didn’t always agree with Brenda’s choices, like taking in her promiscuous friend as a roommate, she was still a flawed character that most people could relate to. I definitely saw parts of me in Brenda. I don’t like getting “chummy” with co-workers (or anyone else, for that matter) either, and the whole clingy, touchy-feely boyfriend is also a huge turn-off for me, too.

As stated by the title, this book consisted of nothing but diary entries, all of which summarize the quick highlights of Brenda’s day. At times, I found my energies depleted by the mundane aspects of her daily activities; however, I managed to be revitalized by Candela’s smart and witty commentaries. Fortunately, most of the entries were kept short and to the point. Sometimes you’ll even find yourself laughing at some of them.

Overall, this book was a colorful rendition of humorous anecdotes about work and life; it really didn’t have a story—well, not much anyways. This was more of a depiction of Brenda’s observations instead of her life, which was nothing more than job-hopping. However, at one point, I wondered if there could be more to the character than I originally credited when the temp recruiter said to her, “Maybe it’s time you started working toward something.” (pg. 100) I was impressed when, at the end, Brenda finally embarked on her first step to being a “grown up,” even though it was shrouded in mystery.

I actually look forward to what becomes of Brenda in this series.