By: Nicole Howard
My Mini Summary: Realistic fiction meets romance and with an accent of GIRL POWER!
Author: Danielle Allen
Publisher: E by M
Work Song addresses a few topics that could be great conversation starters for book club discussions including family dynamics, body image shaming, and work relationships. The one that stood out the most was being a woman in a male-dominated field. It is not uncommon for women to grow up watching sports and being as knowledgeable about them as men. However, doing this socially and professionally is a different story. In Work Song, the protagonist, Tatiana Green is serious about pursuing a career as a sports journalist but she also publishes writing about fashion. She gets the opportunity to meet the ESPN’s head writer and she uses the pseudonym Pat Daniels instead of Patti Daniels. The question is if this is misleading because it’s a neutral name that would most likely be seen as a man when in a sports publication. Patricia addresses this question for Tatiana when they met during an extravagant work event. This brief moment becomes a game changer for Tatiana later in the book. It reminds me of a recent feature guide in O, The Oprah Magazine about being your truest self where Ada Calhoun tells her story about using a pseudonym.
(See page 122 in the November issue. The article is Call Me What You Will – Ada Calhoun).
Does using a pseudonym make you less authentic? J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter Series) used one instead of her full name because her publisher didn’t think a woman’s name would appeal to the male young reader audience (Bio here).
Will Tatiana continue to pursue this dream even though it’s not a common field for women? If so, will she be successful or quit?
The speed of her books usually read like a romance meets a suspense mystery. You can’t put the book down until you figure it out. The speed of Work Song is a little slower with fewer flashbacks and twist and turns BUT Allen still delivers the “OMG” moment. Since the speed is slower you are caught completely off guard. This surprise made me want to smile with pride as if Tatiana was my friend or even me. The best part is realizing she alluded to it and if you don’t pay attention you may miss it. One trait I enjoy about her books is the realism for a work of fiction. I can imagine the whole book as it plays out in my mind. (I think someone has a future as a TV drama writer somebody call Shonda!)
Now for the romance, Tatiana doesn’t have the best relationship history. Her ex-boyfriend’s words continued to haunt her that she was not capable of loving someone, in other words, she’s selfish. The reader is casually introduced to the love interest who she works for the same company, Sports Central and they only communicate through e-mail. There is no pressure for her because they have never met. So they learn about each other through these exchanges and share their love of movies all without speaking or meeting in person. Pretty much the original possibility of a “catfish” situation without relationship apps like Tinder and OK Cupid. It’s all fun and games until her “work best friend”, Wesley Barnes, accepts the opportunity to relocate to work in her office. Just the thought of having to see him every day raises intense fear especially since one of her close girlfriends had a negative work relationship experience.
She continues to deny that she can fall for this man because she has to remain a professional in the workplace. Once he arrives they spend time together and even as she begins to stop denying that she is developing feelings she fights it and him the whole way. Eventually, she has to choose between finally removing the false claim that she can’t love someone and the career opportunity of a lifetime. It is clear she is not supposed to have both. Danielle Allen finds a way to bring up so many relevant life topics in less than 400 pages that will make you stop and think can YOU have it all?
Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26228446-work-song
Find it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1QWV6gm
When society tries to put you in a box, knock the walls down. –Tati Green
“You have a pretty face” is such a back-handed compliment. It’s like telling me that my face is beautiful, but the rest of me is not.
Despite what society says, my curves are hot. My love life, on the other hand, is not.
My mom says I’ll never find love because of my weight.
My sister says I’ll never find love because of my personality.
My almost-fiancé says I’ll never find love because I’m incapable of loving anyone.
My mom and sister are full of it, but my ex kind of has a point.
At twenty-seven years old, I’ve never been in love. I date a lot, yet sparks never fly. But when I experienced the heart-pounding, skin tingling feeling for the first time, I didn’t think it would be caused by a guy I’ve never met. And I damn sure didn’t think he would end up holding my future in his hands in more ways than one.