Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose

Mike’s review

I am not the target demo. Before I got bored with it, I used to listen to Slate’s Double X podcast, which Grose was a part of, thus my knowledge of this book.


There’d better be some serious action to justify this lackluster prose (The book isn’t tagged with the yellow sticker the library uses to indicate Young Adult, but I think I remember it being posed as such).


This is pretty awesome (biting, but not listlessly satirical (like, I don’t even care about this trash culture and neither do you so let’s condescend to it, which just comes across as boring)): “When I describe Ariel to other people, I make sure to include this bit of pivotal information: She once fucked a Stroke.” (Possibly most funny is “a” rather than “one of the”).


Plot summary: a gossip blogger decides whether she’s a human being or not, or something. Does the internet matter? Is it real? Is anything? I’m being unfair because I’m grumpy because I just got some less than good news.

For real: A blogger gets a video of a politician’s daughter topless snorting blow and contemplates whether or not to post the video for about 30 seconds as said video will save her job. She posts the video and then deals with the ramifications of the decisions and her own psychopathy and paranoia. Like seriously, psychopathy and paranoia, the likes of which only exist in serial killers and on the internet.


Not sure Grose really thought about 25: Internet definitely existed when narrator was a kid. Allusion to being out of college 5 years ago.


Why would you drive through Wisconsin from Connecticut to Berkeley?


Narrator’s preoccupation with paying her own health care means either Obamacare was being pushed through while Grose wrote or Grose forgot that 25 year olds go without health insurance on the regular and it’s not that big of a deal for them because they’re pretty fucking healthy, more or less. Who it is a big deal for is old people, because without that healthy money, old people’s premiums go up.


Paranoia and seriously huge amounts of self-obsession. Like, totally forgets that her live-in boyfriend exists, basically, except for how he can further herself.

Narrator snoops (Grose doesn’t even bother with “the binder flips open” or “drops off the table”) through boyfriend’s work and makes assumptions about how evil he is and I hate her, like I hate all women who are not fucking me.


(Many of my complaints about Alex (narrator) are what I imagine people will complain about regarding Ethan. He’s punished/falls from grace quite handily and I want you to hate him. I don’t think that’s what’s happening here, though.)


I am kinda freaking out that she’s about to publish this video though.


I was going back to make sure I wasn’t confusing Alex’s age and I came across this: says she met boyfriend at a friend’s birthday party, but tells story about meeting him at a bar after djing, so what? She’s schizophrenic?


My problem is: Like a shitty gossip blog, so much of this seems churned out and unconsidered. Stories that don’t match, like the boyfriend thing above. A 2nd-3rd draft. Just good enough. But still someone at Harper Collins paid her for it. I feel like this story never hurt Grose (it was just some fun little experiment for her to take a crack at) and every word I write kills me.


This is the most important note. She wrote this in five months. I’m done reading forever.



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