3 out of 4 stars
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Dream Job: Wacky Adventures of an HR Manager is a short fiction novel by Janet Garber.
Melie Kohl is the Human Resources (HR) Manager at Axis Mundi Medical Centre. The book follows Melie as she tries to fix the hilarious and devious behavioural problems of the staff while avoiding her own problems. She is lonely, worn out and hiding a big secret.
The book presents an array of fascinating characters: the groping doctor, the terrorised secretary, and the rabid bulldog-like boss. Each character has an urgent problem and a desperate need of Melie’s skills that she finds suffocating. Her stress levels build until she is hiding under her desk at work and experiencing the supernatural on her subway commute.
She meets Ted, a small town antique store owner, and their romance provides a quiet interlude in her life. Just when Mellie starts to get comfortable there’s a murder, a viscous love rival, and her big secret is about to be discovered!
Melie herself has a mix of strengths and weaknesses that make her both likeable and relatable. She tries too hard and has a tendency to overthink things. Like a lot of people she is desperate to find someone to settle down with. These traits add complication to Melie’s life and to the book.
Drawing on a career in HR, the author has created a rich setting full of “behind-the-scenes mayhem” inspired by her own experiences. All the characters, even the really minor ones, are well described by both their actions and Melie’s thoughts. The crises of the characters are complimentary side plots to Melie’s story, integrating neatly and highlighting key aspects of Melie’s thoughts and behaviours.
The writing style is conversational and character-driven. Included in the book is a reader’s guide of comprehension questions and a description of the author’s HR career.
I liked a lot about this book. Melie and the other characters were interesting, and their stories were skilfully woven together. It was easy to empathise with Melie.
What I didn’t like was the ending. It seemed convenient, and Melie didn’t really grow as a character because in accommodating someone else her problems became irrelevant.
The formatting of Melie’s thoughts needs work. Her thoughts are presented as italic blocks and the edge of the blocks is cut off. I could guess what the missing parts were but it was a little disappointing when the rest of the book was so well done.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Though I didn’t like the ending it is still a great story worth trying. Anyone who has experienced work related politics will love this book.
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