Break in Case of Emergency

Break in Case of Emergency

Jessica Winter / Feb 28, 2020

Break in Case of Emergency An irreverent and deeply moving comedy about friendship fertility and fighting for one s sanity in a toxic workplace Jen has reached her early thirties and has all but abandoned a once promising pai

  • Title: Break in Case of Emergency
  • Author: Jessica Winter
  • ISBN: 9781101946138
  • Page: 109
  • Format: Hardcover
  • An irreverent and deeply moving comedy about friendship, fertility, and fighting for one s sanity in a toxic workplace.Jen has reached her early thirties and has all but abandoned a once promising painting career when, spurred by the 2008 economic crisis, she takes a poorly defined job at a feminist nonprofit The foundation s ostensible aim is to empower women, but staffeAn irreverent and deeply moving comedy about friendship, fertility, and fighting for one s sanity in a toxic workplace.Jen has reached her early thirties and has all but abandoned a once promising painting career when, spurred by the 2008 economic crisis, she takes a poorly defined job at a feminist nonprofit The foundation s ostensible aim is to empower women, but staffers spend all their time devising acronyms for imaginary programs, ruthlessly undermining one another, and stroking the ego of their boss, the larger than life celebrity philanthropist Leora Infinitas Jen s complicity in this passive aggressive hellscape only intensifies her feelings of inferiority compared to her two best friends one a wealthy attorney with a picture perfect family, the other a passionately committed artist and so does Jen s apparent inability to have a baby, a source of existential panic that begins to affect her marriage and her already precarious status at the office As Break in Case of Emergency unfolds, a fateful art exhibition, a surreal boondoggle adventure in Belize, and a devastating personal loss conspire to force Jen to reckon with some hard truths about herself and the people she loves most.Jessica Winter s ferociously intelligent debut novel is a wry satire of celebrity do goodism as well as an exploration of the difficulty of navigating friendships as they shift to accommodate marriage and family, and the unspoken tensions that can strain even the strongest bonds.

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      • Jessica Winter

        Jessica Winter Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Break in Case of Emergency book, this is one of the most wanted Jessica Winter author readers around the world.


    1. I got this book through the Vine program to review. I really really didn't like this novel. I thought the writing was poorly done and the characters were shallow, unlikable, and just plan stupid. There really wasn't one single thing I found interesting or engaging about this book…Mostly this book was just boring. The writing doesn't flow well and the reader is jerked around from subject to subject in a way that is discontinuous at best; downright confusing at worst. We found ourselves immerse [...]

    2. This was a solid read but I wouldn't call it a favorite. It's well written and there were definitely some laugh out loud moments - especially in the context of today's working world. There is a strong mix of workplace comedy/satire and family/friend complex relationships. Jessica Winter did an amazing job of portraying an unhealthy work place as well as the difficulty of infertility. I really appreciate the way she portrayed friendship and marriage in this novel. It felt very real to me. It was [...]

    3. This is part workplace comedy, both infuriating and laugh-out-loud funny, and part a sincere portrait of the love and pain of friendship and marriage. The parody of the ridiculous, clueless running of a nonprofit is brought back to earth by the wonderfully irreverent, funny and real Jen and her relationships with her husband and best friends. This book made me laugh and it made me angry, all while keeping me truly invested in the characters. Break in Case of Emergency is at times both silly and [...]

    4. Absolutely loved this funny, heartwarming, at times heartbreaking story of Jen. A talented artist who struggles to believe in herself. Taking a job for a non for profit organization she finds herself being juggled and used by her superiors. All the while Jen and her husband Jim are trying to begin a family. Jessica Winter weaves Jen's story with beautiful and intricate dialogue.

    5. If "Break in Case of Emergency" had only tried to be an absurdist comedy about work/celebrity philanthropy/pop feminism, I would've probably really liked it. The main character, Jen, starts a new job working at a celebrity's startup foundation for women, called LIFt. Instead of really working to help women, the foundation focuses mainly on the shallow and trendy ideas of feminism and empowerment common to women's fashion magazines, much to Jen's chagrin. Winter perfectly captures the endless ema [...]

    6. I loved this book.As workplace satire, I think it did a great job of capturing the deadening feel of a deeply dysfunctional workplace. I've spent my career working in Silicon Valley, and I found the parallels between my experience of the dysfunctional version of the macho, male-dominated culture here and Winter's portrayal of the female-dominated non-profit world totally delightful (in a darkly comic way).I empathized with Jen much more than I expected to. As a portrayal of a woman caught betwee [...]

    7. It's probably partially that I started reading this book after reading a really dumb memoir, but I was initially just struck by how smart and snappy Winter's writing is. Every once in a while it felt like she was trying to show off the use of some word, but by and large I was just so incredibly entertained by her relentless skewering of the non-profit world that I didn't much care. This woman has clearly been to one too many meetings whose goal was unclear and whose results were nonexistent. Win [...]

    8. A 30-something Jen is adrift after losing her job at the start of the financial crisis. She takes a job at a 'female empowering' nonprofit and it's this job and her colleagues that provide the laughs and satire and snark. Jen's feelings of isolation are compounded be her fertility complications, the success of her best friends, her self-medication and the nightmare that is her new job. But at its heart this is a book about feminism, women's choices, money and power. It's unapologetic and quietly [...]

    9. I wanted to like this book. It skewers my industry where there's a lot to skewer. I also like the author from Slate podcasts. Sadly, it seemed too "first novel:" too many words that are creative with a know-it-all feel. (Really, *espy* when *see* would have worked just as well?) Some characters, like the boss, are entertaining but they're too one dimensional to not be eventually annoying. Disappointing.

    10. I'm not really sure why I couldn't warm to this story like I wanted. Maybe the feeling of mixed genres - sort of chick lit without the bubbly feel good bits, sort of satire but with its sharpness buried in emotional drama - or maybe the unsympathetic main character. There was a lot of promise in the idea of Jen taking a 'non-job' with an organisation creating a raft of female empowerment projects, and some of the opening scenes were sharply funny, but overall it just didn't work for me. I receiv [...]

    11. I started out disliking this book - the writing style, the choppy chapters, the nonsensical characters - even as much that I considered just putting it away (which I rarely do). But it quickly grew on me because every once in a while an idea would jump out from the text and resonate with my own thoughts.

    12. I know I just called "Ursula, Under" an unwieldy book, but I'm going to use the term to describe "Break In Case Of Emergency" as well, only in a different sense. UU was unwieldy in that I think the story and underlying ideas were rich, but should've been written by a more talented writer. In BICOE, I think the writer has a TON of raw talent, but needs to hone her skills a bit more. According to the back cover, the author previously wrote magazine articles, and that definitely came through in the [...]

    13. Let me be clear: this is a book about first world problems--specifically first world problems that affect one woman in her thirties as she comes to terms with feeling left behind due to her age, employment status, and reproductive capabilities in terms with what she sees (imagines?) in the lives of her friends and peers. Her life is not all that terrible, and this book could be seen as short-sighted in a world where we know very real problems exist.Except that the main character is not a whiner, [...]

    14. I didn't think I would like it for quite a while. It took a very long time to get going, and some of the dialogue sounded painful. But then we got to the part were she has a traumatizing event occur to her and her bosses, while acting understanding about her personal situation, also cannot understand why she takes more than a day off. This unfortunately struck a painful chord. While I didn't have nearly the same debilitating trauma that Jen did, I did face some low times made worse by who I work [...]

    15. The premise of the book sounded promising but I found that while reading it, I was forcing myself to get through it. The characters and the setting seemed kind of "The Devil Wears Prada-esque" with someone in their mid 20s-30s, tackling a job with difficult coworkers, but I just couldn't empathize with any of them. I felt like there wasn't a real plot line and it was very difficult to follow at times because it didn't progress in a traditional fashion. Even the main character, I found incredibly [...]

    16. I want to hug this book. It was so real and honest. The author captured female friendships as they morph and change as we succeed and fail through life. I didn't like it when I began reading, I didn't even like it when I was halfway through, but for some inexplicable reason I love it now that I've finished.

    17. This was a story that I sadly DNF'd. While I did feel that the story was well written. I felt that its inner meaning of 'personal relatioship navigation and friendship dynamics' was often lost amid the meaningless surface minutia of the characters everyday existences. Can you say Kardashians?

    18. A really enjoyable read. Jen is incredibly relatable, and her ridiculous workplace definitely rings true. I loved the dynamics between her and her two best friends, and found the ending very satisfying.

    19. A funny send up of earnest development nonprofits. As someone who works at a nonprofit there were certainly familiar notes but I think we're still waiting for additional entries to truly exploit the humor and irony of some of this work.

    20. Jessica Winter gets me. I am Jen. Jen is me.This is a delicious, poignant, hilarious novel about young working women. I recommend!

    21. I didn’t anticipate liking this book, or relating to this book, as much as I did. I actually picked it as a sort of light hearted break after having read some heavier books. It begins with a quote by Joan DIdion: “we flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive traits: a gift for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give.” That quote is a good summary of what the book’s central themes were: self-respect and what that means within the context [...]

    22. Fresh, surprising and satisfying. The first few pages I thought “not mr genre”? And then I “got it”! I became engaged in the parallel characters, especially her college friends and their sweet triangle (along with Daisy, her salvation at LIFt). Relationships are at the base of it all, and best friend/we have so much in common husband Jim, pulsate out of the pages. I want to meet these people

    23. Some parts were really absurdist-funny so I gave it three stars even though most of it was slow, and most of the characters unlikeable and/or cringeworthy, especially the main character.

    24. This book sounded interesting from what I had read about it beforehand, but honestly it ended up being something of a disappointment. I think the main reason for this is that it's trying to deal with too many heavy subjects at once. Feminism, motherhood, money, the struggles of being an artist, dealing with friendships after college, etc However, in trying to get through so much Winter is unable to give each subject the attention it deserves. There were a lot of interesting ideas here, but we on [...]

    25. Whenever I seek out lighter reading, I'm almost always disappointed. A perfect romantic partner manifests out of nowhere. Stilted dialogue. Stupid characters. A plot peppered with too many handy coincidences, unfolding with clunky joie de vivre.Pamela Paul, editor of The NY Times Book Review, recommended this book on their podcast, so I knew I was in good hands. This is the light and funny but well-crafted read that I searched for. It's the funniest book I've read in a while in fact, and boy did [...]

    26. Read at the beach this year; thought the nonprofit part was super amusing; empathized with the midthirties part. Wanted to like it a touch more than I did, really more 3.5 stars, but still, perfect book for the couch on the beach.

    27. I loved the workplace satire aspect of this book. I liked the main character's exploration of infertility and marriage. I did not like the unnecessarily fancy language. While this book was fun to read, it was clear that it was a first novel trying to do too many things at once. Looking forward to this author's second book!

    28. REALLY grateful to have received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House, to read and review.I was really excited to read this book, because it seemed fresh and fun and new, and like a satirical look at NGO culture, and celebrity feminism/philanthropy. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed. Jessica Winter is an excellent author, she writes beautifully, but I felt like she was often trying too hard to sound like "literature". The book often came across as being pretentious. This sometime [...]

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