In this cute tale of corporate hierarchies, failed romances, and the delicate intricacies of family relationships, the protagonist, twenty-six-year-old Raquel Azorian manages to navigate the L.A. scene in style. I loved the light and easy-going feel of the book, which make it both relatable and manageable at the same time. The writing is compelling without being redundant, and Candela does a fantastic job of creating well-rounded and captivating characters.
On the cusp of a huge (and well-deserved) promotion from her job at Belmore Corporation as a marketing executive assistant, Raquel is forced to fight for her job after her boss suffers a very public mental breakdown.
Never one to skip a beat, Raquel focuses her attention towards pulling herself out of the corporate catastrophe that could threaten her three years of hard work. At the same time, Raquel’s overbearing (and insanely funny) mother, Marlene, moves in with her to reflect on her marital problems. Raquel suddenly finds herself in the midst of a work crisis, her parent’s failing marriage, and her brother problems with his demanding wife.
In what can only be described as painfully hilarious, Raquel struggles to maintain her sanity as her job, her social life (or lack thereof), and her family’s issues all come crashing down on her head. Other characters not mentioned above include Raquel’s crazy sister-in-law, Cricket, the southern-belle turned housewife, Frappa Ivanhoe, Raquel’s best friend and agent to the stars (namely anorexic sisters, Cat and Cara), and Kyle Martin, the suave and gorgeous new vice president of Belmore who seems interested in Raquel.
While I really enjoyed the books, I did have two tiny issues, though they didn’t take away from my overall satisfaction with the story:
My first gripe is more of a personal issue, and it’s entirely possible that you won’t feel the same way. At some point during the book, Raquel realizes that she’s let her appearance and body “go,” and becomes incredibly upset at how much weight she’s gained (14 pounds, by the way). The trouble for me was that her “obesity” is a measly 147.6 pounds! It’s very sad to me that people might consider this obese, or even overweight. It’s possible that Candela was simply commenting on the unrealistic expectations for women in L.A., but I didn’t like how Raquel perpetuated this notion. For a 5’6” woman, 147 pounds is well within healthy a weight-range. As I said, it’s not a huge issue (pun intended!), but for someone like me, who’s never been thin in my entire life, this weight sounds like a goal to me, not a breaking point!
The other thing that bothered me a bit was how things ended. I won’t give anything away, but I will say that I had hoped for a more rewarding ending for Raquel. Throughout the whole book, I found myself rooting for her and it looked like things might actually go her way for once at the novel’s close. But yet again, no matter how hard she tries, Raquel simply cannot escape from the brutal reality of the corporate world. I will add, though, that since Raquel herself seems okay with the way things turned out for herself, I was a bit more accepting of the ending. Still, it would have been nice to see all of her hard work finally pay off!
Overall, I would suggest Good-bye To All That to anyone looking for a quick, yet entertaining, and well-written book. If you’ve ever worked in an office before, you will crack up laughing at Candela’s honesty and knack for recreating the trials and tribulations of office life!
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