I finished “The Assistants” by Camille Perri, and my overall thought is it’s a great fantasy. Super relevant and timely, especially as we witness the rich becoming richer and the poor struggling to survive in 2020.
“The Assistants” is about an executive assistant, Tina Fontana, who works for Robert Barlow, the billionaire media titan who owns Titan Corporation. Tina spends her days getting water, scheduling meetings, and running errands for her boss while struggling to pay her rent and student loans, which hover under $20k. An accounting mistake reimburses Tina with a check for $20,000, but she does what everyone with student loans dreams of: she pays her balance in full. When the protagonist thinks her actions are clear, another assistant catches the mistake and begins to blackmail Tina into filing false expense reports. The whole scheme snowballs into a gargantuan dilemma until Tina pulls a Robert on Robert.
I enjoyed this book because it offered the fantasy student loan borrowers have about paying back the loans. Just wishing we can rid ourselves of the financial burden in one swoop. Perri was so accurate in her description of life as a struggling millennial.
“…People say we’re lazy and entitled. But the truth is, the deal we were promised growing up, if we work hard and get a good education, it’s really not working out. The dream we were sold, and the job market we encountered…”
It’s not that Tina Fontana wanted to be dishonest; it was the burden of financial difficulties while working for a thoughtless billionaire that pushed her to do it. There is a Robinhood-like theme in this book to steal from the rich and give to the poor.
There’s also great relationships that form between the characters, but the love interest is just adorable. Precisely what I was craving. Not too mushy, but nothing Rated M. Tina’s relationships with the other assistants may have started sketchy, but ends like a “Babysitters Club” read. Just a total All-for-one-one-for-all group hug.
“The Assistants” is a smart and funny book, sort of a mix between “Devil Wears Prada” and “Oceans 11.” I recommend this read; it’s nice to imagine the “what if” scenarios.