Sad Desk Salad {Review and Giveaway}

by Dawn

Alex Lyons starts her work day before 6:30 each morning. At least the commute from her bedroom to her living room couch isn’t too tough, but that walk is often the only movement she gets all day. In Jessica Grose’s novel Sad Desk Salad, Alex is one of four writers for a website called Chick Habit, and in her professional world of covering mostly celebrity gossip she’s never able to stray too far from her laptop.

With her experience as an editor for Jezebel, Grose is in a good position to fictionalize the work of a writer for an uber-popular women’s website. With deadlines for multiple postings a day that are mostly celebrity-fueled, the protagonist Alex spends her days searching the Internet for the it stories of the day, so she can reshape them in her own words and get it retold on Chick Habit’s site. Her boss Moira is always electronically looking over her shoulder, IMing her throughout the day, with the constant expectation of immediate response. Alex is aware of her presence and the pressure that it represents, and she’s well aware that web traffic is the key to holding on to her job. As a result, the more snarky she can be or the juicier a story she can write, the more likely she is to still have a job at the end of the month.

When an email lands in her inbox that seems to hold a key to her biggest story yet, Alex doesn’t think on it too long. An expose on the squeaky-clean daughter of a self-proclaimed parenting expert-turned-politician that includes video evidence of the girl’s risque, and even illegal, behavior would be the key to securing her position for sure. What Alex may not  be able to foresee is the effect that this one story will have on her own life.

I enjoyed this contemporary tale of a blogger who is forced toward some self-examination for its wit and sharpness. From the beginning, Alex is quick to admit to a feeling of “ick” about her job, but this is what brings home the paycheck she needs, and she couldn’t find a way to do it writing the more serious pieces that fulfilled her during college. Instead, she finds herself among those scarfing down a quick salad, hence the brilliant title, while still sitting across from her laptop in an effort not to miss a moment.

I can’t say that I’m a huge reader of the websites that Chick Habit is fashioned after, but I certainly see these types of stories popping up in my Facebook feed all the time, and I’ve wondered what it must be like for the writers behind all these posts. In the age of celebrity overdose, Sad Desk Salad is a funny and thoughtful examination of our Internet culture in the form of an entertaining novel.

Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below to enter to win a copy of Sad Desk Salad for yourself. We have one copy to give away, U.S. residents only, please. We’ll announce our winner in our November 19 review column.

The winners of Fierce Women are Anita and Jessica Tan. Our giveaway for The Shortest Way Home is still open for another week so enter now.

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Email Author    |    Website About Dawn

When she's not reviewing books, 5 Minutes for Books contributor Dawn (and her online alter ego, morninglight mama) can be found blogging at my thoughts exactly and contributing to The DC Moms.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 gigi November 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I’m an internet junkie – TMZ, various blogs, Perez Hilton, reality tv….I’m probably way too involved!!

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2 Amanda R November 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Via RSS feeds and Google Reader.
Limiting my brain when I can to it all.

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3 Michelle H November 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Whatever comes across cnn.com or the local newspaper—or what my students are too busy talking about to pay attention in school. :)

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4 Stacie November 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm

The internet, of course, and the occasional magazine look in the check out line of safeway!

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5 chelsea November 4, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I don’t really keep up with that stuff

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6 Susan P. November 4, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Whatever I see on the internet or occasionally on ExtraTV.

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7 angie November 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

mostly tv but sometimes magazines as well

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8 Anne November 5, 2012 at 10:39 am

I don’t keep up with that type of topic.

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9 Idaho Jill November 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm

not much at all, but I do see tidbits on the internet, mostly yahoo…

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10 Jennifer Thomas November 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm

not much at all

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11 MonaG November 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I keep up via magazines and email newsletter subscriptions.
This book sounds really good.
Thanks :)

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12 benita November 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm

through tv shows and magazines, and an occasional newspaper article.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

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13 Beth C November 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Not much at all but see occasional things on TV.

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14 Theresa J November 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Typically via magazines and tv

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15 Kim November 6, 2012 at 7:50 am

I let my hubby fill me in! so sad.

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16 Liz November 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I work with college students, so they keep me up to date!

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17 Linda Kish November 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Magazines and TMZ mostly

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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18 Kayo November 7, 2012 at 7:52 am

just the internet!

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19 Staci A November 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

I really don’t keep up, just the occasional tv show.

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20 andrea November 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm

watching tv and on the computer

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21 DebbyM November 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I see things occasionally on the internet as I’m surfing…and occasionally on TV in the evening.

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22 aimee mcpherson November 11, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Whatever I see on TV or randomly browse over on the internet

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23 Patricia November 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I’m very old school on this! I keep up with celebrity news through TV and newspapers.

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24 Rosita November 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

Mostly from David Letterman’s monologue!

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25 Rebekah November 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I pretty much only watch TMZ and some late night talk shows.

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26 Jessica T November 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Mostly on TV. . . .

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27 Sunshine B. November 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Internet news is my guilty pleasure!

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