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Help Wanted, Desperatelyby Ariel Horn
Synopses & Reviews
In between ridiculous mistakes and egregious oversights, Ariel Horn explores whether jobs will ever give life meaning — and where meaning comes from in the first place. With candour, wit and embarrassing naivete, Help Wanted, Desperately, a hilarious first novel by a recent college grad, ultimately touches on what it means to have potential — and how we find happiness in who we are, not what we do.
Alexa Hoffman never expected to fondle crotchless panties in the middle of an interview. And under no circumstances did she ever anticipate that in her quest for a job in New York City, she would ultimately try to become an earthworm breeder, a phone sex operator, and a deodorant sniffer all over the course of one week.
Desperate to avoid moving back in with her parents, Alexa haphazardly signs up to become an English teacher for $100 a month on the third world island of Majuro, though she has no real interest in actually working there. Eager to move to New York City and avoid Majuro at all costs, Alexa makes a vow: it's Majuro or Bust and she's got only seven months and three weeks to find and secure a job in New York City. As the clock furiously ticks closer to her imminent trip to Majuro and Alexa's desperate search for employment grows increasingly more bizarre, Alexa finds herself falling deeper in love with her boyfriend Jared, and deeper into an endlessly disastrous situation that forces her maniacal job search into new and uncharted waters, murky with possibility, love, and the confusion born from missed opportunities.
"Alexa Hoffman, the 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania senior at the center of Ariel Horn's debut novel, has got exactly seven months, three weeks and two days before her initiation into the real world. Determined to secure a job in New York City, she embarks on a life-altering journey from one bizarre interview to the next. As a last resort and to avoid moving back in with her parents, she signs up to become an English teacher on the Third World island of Majuro while continuing her search for a job that will prevent her from actually having to go there. Over the course of this witty and wise coming-of-age novel, Alexa interviews for every imaginable position — earthworm breeder, deodorant sniffer, phone sex operator — evoking all the expectations and anxiety of the modern-day career search. Each chapter ends with a list of 'Lessons Learned' comprising such hard-learned aphorisms as 'Never assume your mother believes in something you plan on doing simply because she doesn't say otherwise' and 'Do not — under any circumstances — interview for Internet jobs listed as 'other' ever again.' Blithe and fresh-voiced, this book covers almost every tribulation of entering adulthood, forging a career and falling in love, against the odds. Agent, Jeff Kleinman. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Seven months, three weeks, two days — that's exactly how long Alexa has to establish herself in an exciting career. At twenty-one, she's determined to gallop into "the Real World with a Real Job, a Real Life, and a Real Future." Moving in with her parents and commuting from New Jersey into Manhattan is not an option — and if she fails to find serious employment before the time runs out, it's off to teach English on the Third World island of Majuro for $100 a month!
But what jobs are available for an inexperienced young woman in the Big City? Writing headlines about yeast infections for Trend magazine? Sniffing deodorants for a living? Earthworm breeder? Phone sex operator?
The Real World, apparently, is not such a welcoming place. With employment opportunities growing increasingly fewer and more bizarre daily, should Alexa consider seeking some stability by moving in with her boyfriend Jared? Between her participation in a clinical sleep study for cash and her desperate attempts to become the voice of a cartoon cat in a last ditch effort to gain "respectful employment," Alexa hardly knows anymore. Maybe what she's really looking for is in the last place she ever thought she'd find it ...
About the Author
Ariel Horn is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, many of the anecdotes in the book are based upon her own real-life experiences in her desperate attempts to find post-graduation employment. Ariel currently lives in Manhattan, where she continues to search for a life. If you find one, please call. Help Wanted, Desperatelyis her first novel.
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