Not Safe For Work by Isabel Kaplan – Book Review

Not Safe for Work is definitely one of the harder-hitting books I’ve read in recent times, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, it pulled me right in through its mix of exploring serious topics such as sexual harassment and abuse, but told from the POV of a woman who is smart, sassy and not afraid of seeing the irony in a situation.

Opening sentence: The thing about Los Angeles is that it’s awful and I hate it, but when I’m there, nowhere else exists, and I can’t imagine leaving.

The story is delivered by an unnamed protagonist, a young woman, recently graduated from the prestigious Harvard university. She moves back to her hometown of LA and starts a job at a TV production company.

She’s working in the industry that makes LA famous and comes up against all the controversy and discrimination that we’ve heard so much about with the #MeToo revelations.

Not Safe for Work explores how women are victimised, judged and silenced and forever having to balance not speaking up when, for example, they’re abused or harassed, if the person who did it to them is more powerful.

The ever complex mother/daughter relationship

The nuances of our lead character’s co-dependent, majoritively toxic, mother-daughter relationship are also looked at in depth and reveal how much this affects all areas of both of their lives. It was woven through the main plotline and definitely added depth to the origins of her insecurities and vulnerability. As mentioned, she was also clever and funny – a great blend that meant you really cared for her.

It’s a high-wire balancing act of mixed messaging – no easy feat, but I have so many years of practice.

Despite (or, more accurately, because of) its gritty, often raw depiction of a shocking reality for so many women, Not Safe for Work pulled me in. I loved that the ambiguous ending flipped things onto you and made you think about what you would do if you were ever faced with an unfair, difficult situation.

A book that leaves you pondering and gives great social commentary on the glass ceiling that very much still exists between women and equality in both the workplace and life, is always an excellent read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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