Meet Helen. Smart, successful and obliviously trapped. For the past six years, Helen has given her life and her heart to her cushy corporate finance job and to Mark without question. However as the Recession sweeps the Nation, she is one of many left unemployed and with the burning question of what does she really want in life.
Recession Proof is a debut novel for anyone that has settled in their career and relationship but has discovered that what really matters in life is living it.
From the moment I heard the title of Kimberly S. Lin’s novel, I was excited to read it. I have read articles about the turn chick lit has taken into “recession” lit so I was interested to see how new novels are changing the glitzy, affluent chick lit backdrop in the face of unemployment. It seems that the death of chick lit has been trotted out because of Tough Economic Times suggesting that mindless consumerism is all the genre had to offer.
Recession Proof illustrates how this is not true. It follows Helen through her personal struggle in discovering herself while finding a career (and man) who she connects with. I could identify with Helen as she wrestled with familial expectations for her career and relationship. I think the desire to please parental/mentor figures even in the face of our own happiness is something that many people can relate to.
Helen’s six year relationship was one that, although I personally have not experienced, I could understand it. The reality of remaining in a holding pattern where things aren’t awful but they aren’t good either is recognizable. I also really appreciated how Lin keeps Helen aware of her own apathy. Like Helen will be shocked that she is even saying some of the things she does to her best friend about her relationship.
Although there are some time jumps that feel abrupt, the novel has a nice pace that I was able to engage in and read in a single sitting one evening. Recession Proof tackles a number of tough issues including job loss, unhealthy relationships, death, pregnancy, and parent/adult child relationships in a down to earth fashion without overblown drama which continues to keep the novel in the relatable instead of fantastical realm.
Recession Proof is an optimistic tale of a woman who, on paper, seems to have it all figured out but learns to be true to herself. I think a little optimism is what this piece of “recession lit” offers and keeps true to what chick lit has served to readers all along.