From NetGalley Review published by Holland House Books.
A black humored checkerboard with ivory tiles of compassion.
Jane, a telemarketer, is neither a nihilist nor a slacker, but a resilient survivor from a wretched childhood using humor to make it through another torpid day at work.
Austin’s breath-taking cynicism, and laugh out loud one-liners, take the reader on a skillfully crafted journey. “I believe that I should be able to amputate my own hand if I am so compelled. I am the sole owner of all my own appendages.” Jane struggles to gain autonomy and keeps the truth private, a rare quality. Maybe she might have sought help if anyone suitable appeared on the horizon, but meanwhile, Jane willingly defends other people’s sensibilities as best she can.
The writer’s smooth and sinewy conversational writing style belies a razor-sharp opportunism and a wickedly warped perspective. Jane’s constant lies, or flights of fancy, form a tattered ribbon of deceit and protection that ultimately unravel and leave her vulnerable and exposed.
When you mix frivolous wit and unrelenting misfortune in the correct proportion you end up with a poignant portrait: a sweet-bitter nugget of life like multicolored jellybeans rolled in a crisp peppercorn crust. As a bonus, “Oh Honey,” has my favorite kind of ending. I’m looking forward to a second helping. Maybe you will too.