Friday, October 18, 2013

Short Story Collection Review: Working for Heat by Donavan Sotam

Working for HeatToday's offering for this month's theme of short and shortish books is Working for Heat, a collection of three short stories set in the office.

When the author asked me to review his book, he mentioned it was a satire. I'd like to say I knew exactly what he meant, but instead I had only a vague sense of the word. To ensure I knew how to treat this review, I dusted off my memories from high school English class and then did a few searches on Google just to be sure. In case you're a bit rusty like I was, satire is poking fun at a human folly through wit, irony or derision.

As for the title, the author explains it as working to no purpose.

Working for Heat by Donovan Sotam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An amusing and satirical jab at office politics.

Working for Heat is a compilation of three short stories focused on different aspects of office life. As a satire, these stories are a success, although my opinions of each vary.

Severance Coffee is about a workaholic woman who is just about too busy to be fired. Several situations stood out to me: one, the workaholic who thinks she's single-handedly keeping the business afloat; two, the lack of communication between the company's leaders (and between them and the employee); and three, the disconnect between white collar and blue collar workers. This one was a bit depressing, because I felt sorry for the lady being fired.

The "older you get, the less you work, the more you earn" paradox is a story about a young man who takes a chance and asks for a raise. His boss denies the request until he's "older in the company" and basically says try again in 2053. In response, the man decides to play a prank on his boss and recruits his best friend and girlfriend to assist him in his elaborate plot. I thought the prank was pretty clever, funny, and a little over the top, but this is satire so over the top is appropriate.

The forgotten chosen one is the last of the three stories. It features an OCD intern who arrives to work on his first day extremely motivated and ready to work only to be shuffled aside, ignored and ultimately forgotten. There's an ironic and fantastical twist at the end which I won't go into due to spoilers, but in my opinion it wraps the story up well. This was my favorite of the three stories because it made me chuckle, definitely the most clever of the three.

Personally, I would have preferred more short stories in a single eBook. The three here got me interested, but I felt like it was just getting started when I turned the last page. Also, there are some spelling errors and maybe one or two punctuation errors, but in my opinion, they aren't of a nature to be a distraction unless punctuation and grammar errors are a pet peeve.

Overall, I enjoyed Working for Heat and would recommend it to anyone who likes satire and a really quick read.

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest, non-reciprocal review.

View all my reviews