Firstly, huge thanks to Suzy for reaching out and sending me a copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review.
After recently reading Cho Nam-Joo’s Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 when I saw the description of Jessicaca I was very interested to see how they would be similar and how they would differ in terms of the presentation of sexism. Whilst they both tell a similar tale, they are also both very different however, this was just as enjoyable for me!
Jessicaca, as the title suggests, follows 31-year-old Jessica who works as HR for an interior design company. Not only is she bored of her job but she is also bored of the men in her life, if they aren’t patronising, they’re womanisers or just morons. The only exception to that rule seems to be Steven who would be perfect if he was a bit… older.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about Jess at first, she just seemed to be a typical type of protagonist you would usually find in this kind of novel. Which isn’t a bad thing, it can just be a bit predictable. However, as the novel progressed I began to understand and appreciate her more. I soon found myself rooting for her in both her work and personal life. However, I must admit, Soo was by far my favourite character and some of her comments had me cackling. I also really liked Steven and his friends, they felt like a very genuine group and reminded me of people that I used to know at university. As a whole, I love how supportive all of the groups were with their friends, it was great to see.
Whilst this novel was a fun read which regularly had me laughing out loud, there were also a lot of moments that frustrated me as I could relate to some of Jess’ experiences in the office. Whilst she works in HR and myself in IT, I could see a lot of similarities in the office environment in general. Whilst a couple of aspects were exaggerated for comedy value (mainly at the end of the novel), that still didn’t take away from the fact that this book felt like it came from a very real place. I really enjoyed the balance of Jess’ troubles in the office and then her life outside of it. It was this balance that contributed to the feeling of reality in the novel; Jess’ issues at work were fleeting moments as they normally would be but they would catch you so off guard you would almost feel like doing a double take.
Overall, this novel was a lot of fun, steamy in parts and a nice snapshot of what it can be like for a woman working in an office. I felt that the novel could have been a little bit longer as the ending felt somewhat sudden and abrupt, especially when it came to Jess’ relationship and her job. However, it was a great read nonetheless.