Hello Wonderful MY JOB Members,
We’re two for two on positive reviews from industry experts for the MY JOB series!
I shared on this blog the the review of Book 1 by Kirkus, and–just in this month–we scored high points on Book 2 with Publisher’s Weekly’s indie-author* review service, Booklife.
Know what matters much more than that to me? What YOU think. Please take just a quick minute to share your thoughts about our series on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, or wherever you purchased your copy.
And stay tuned for news in our next missive about MY JOB Book 3!
“Few books dig so deeply into life as it’s actually lived, with such unsparing intimacy.”
From BookLife. Read the original published review here.
Idea/Concept: “The stories of our jobs become the stories of our lives,” writes Suzanne Skees in her introduction to this second volume in her “My Job” series. Skees’s project surveys the on-the-ground truth of what work is like right now, around the world, as the dynamics of labor are upended by automation and contract work. Skees demonstrates her acumen as a curator and editor — gathering a diverse roster of workers to tell their stories — and as a listener. She invites her subjects to discuss their careers, their hopes, their disappointments, and the changes they’ve seen at length, all with disarming frankness. Her subjects include a nursing student in Honduras; an environmental activist in American coal country; a banana farmer in Uganda; a college admissions counselor in Rwanda; and a “fringe diplomat” in Tel Aviv. Few books dig so deeply into life as it’s actually lived, with such unsparing intimacy.
Prose: Skees’s own prose is sharp, clear, and purposeful, but outside of introductions and some notes, most of the book come straight from the mouths of her subjects through first person monologue. Skees breaks the chapters up into short labeled sections. This is helpful for skimmers, but the shortness of the individual sections gives the chapters a stop-and-start feeling, impeding narrative momentum.
Originality: This isn’t the first book to survey workers in their own words about work, nor even the first one by Skees to do so, but the author has selected a fresh, fascinating cross section of people to reveal truths about the world and this current moment.
Execution: The book offers insights, wisdom, challenges to orthodox thinking, and some arresting first-person storytelling. It’s both eye-opening and a pleasure to learn about the day-to-day work of a Zambian “mobile-money agent” and to discover how that work is vital to a population outside of the banking system. That said, the narrators’ individual voices sound somewhat similar to each other, and the speakers too rarely offer up surprising or engaging anecdotes. The emphasis here is strongly on the work itself, and the sociopolitical context that created the opportunity for such work. There’s great value in capturing that, but the book might prove more enticing for general audiences with a greater emphasis on voice and storytelling.
“The book offers insights, wisdom, challenges to orthodox thinking, and some arresting first-person storytelling. It’s both eye-opening and a pleasure [to read.]”
*What’s an indie author?–Like independent artists and musicians, indie authors own copyrights to their work, have control over and fund the publication of their books, and must be fully committed to the business of sales and marketing long after the book’s release. You can find lots of debates online about who’s indie and who’s not . . . Generally, indie authors have progressed through time from capitulating to “vanity press” purchases and and Kinko’s homemade photocopies, to deliberately chosen creative partnerships such as the one we have with Greenleaf.
Specifically, in the case of the MY JOB series, our “hybrid” publisher maintains editorial standards even higher than ours ( ! ), so we have to pass muster to get published. Then, our editor Suzanne pitches in for production costs so that ALL author proceeds (we get anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars) from books sold go straight to nonprofit programs that create jobs to end poverty.