It’s an unusual day indeed when I can’t quite decide what I think of a book, but we’re in the middle of a heatwave in London so it’s an unusual day anyway.
The problem is partly the theme, which centres around labour relations in Indiana. As a Brit, I spent the first part of the book trying to work out what the big deal was about unions. We have unions in this country and they strike occasionally, but generally they represent workers pretty well and negotiate with employers and most people seem to think they are largely a good thing. Then I remembered what I’d heard about unions in the US, where they seem to undermine common sense and encourage what we’d call ‘work to rule’ as a standard practice. And then I also remembered the things I have heard otherwise normal-seeming Americans say about the right to ‘fail’ and how those sorts of attitudes underpin US society (e.g. we Brits don’t tend to think a centralised national health service is an assault on our civil liberties). So, unions and how they operate are obviously very different in the UK and the US, and operate in very different landscapes, so I tried to recalibrate. Which was good, because even once you’ve got there, all is still not straightforward and this book partly explores how different groups of people within a factory might feel about unions.
So, that was interesting.
But what of the romance? What indeed. Well, our heroine has spent the last 12 years in what seems to be a deadbeat job in a truck factory, seemingly not using her many skills at all. Things have recently got worse as the business is in the midst of being sold to a Japanese company and management are behaving even worse than usual. Combine this with a fairly disastrous love life and our heroine is feeling pretty bad about herself and her place in the world.
Then the union agitators come to town, and one of them is smokin’ hot. The chemistry is immediate, but they are on different sides of the union fence. What to do? Kiss! Etc.
Then their lives play out against this backdrop of labour relations and small town working class comedy (much of which got me laughing out loud).
And the chemistry? Do we feel it? A little bit. They do have conversations and get on with each other (this shouldn’t be noteworthy, but in this genre it is). Basically they are the educated lesbians who read books. And I guess it’s kinda convincing. But only barely.
So. Read it for the comedy and the subject matter, but maybe not so much for the romance.
Did I like it? You tell me.