*Remember* your first job out of school

Startup is Doree Shafrir’s inaugural novel. It was written before the Me Too movement made its way into the national consciousness, but it describes a myriad of the ways sexism influences women’s workplaces and lives. To wit:

  • Sabrina, a formerly stay-at-home mother, getting back into the workforce and getting little to no support from her husband, Dan.
  • Katya, who works for Dan, doesn’t realize that her boss is flirting with her because she’s so heads down working harder than any other person in the book.
  • Isabel, Sabrina’s boss and younger than her, had a casual affair with the founder of the startup they both work at. Once Isabel is over it and the founder isn’t, she gets fired.

I worked at Amazon when it was coming out of its start-up mode in the late 90s and I can tell you that a lot of the ridiculousnesses that are described in the book rang true to me. Work parties that border on the inappropriate? Poorly thought-through inter-office relationships? A blind spot when it comes to work-life balance? Work attempting to become your life? It was lovely to see all of these things satirized in a novel full of rich characters.

Startup isn’t a great novel – it is a first one – but it is a light-hearted one that takes on some serious issues. I look forward to her next book.


A first novel


TFW you’re writing about a book, and the best description you can come up with is: perfectly adequate. The Sherlockian was perfectly adequate. There are two mysteries, one solved by a fictional Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There’s an eccentric main character. There’s even a romance.

It’s… fine? It’s especially fine considering it’s a first novel, and it’s got some of the oddities that first novels often do. (I like first novels – I’m clearly not a great writer, and it’s heartening as a reader and amateur writer to see even professionals get better with more practice. [You will probably never see any fiction I have written. You don’t want to.])

If you’re into Sherlock Holmes, read it, but it’s not something I’d recommend going out of your way for.