Book Review: In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway

Where I Bought : Borrowed from a friend
Price : RM8
Rating : 5/5 stars

We all know how gossips in office could spice up an otherwise mundane work routine and this book is all about the juiciest news you could get — office affairs.

Stella is a 40-ish high achiever and the most senior female executive in a London high-end firm; while Bella is a 20-ish overqualified PA who has been reassigned to a new boss. Two women of opposite rungs in the corporate ladder working within a global oil company found themselves on common ground when they got into affairs with male colleagues.

Would Stella risk her influential and promising career and a family of two kids over Rhys who is a new unruly trainee?

Would Bella who has been emotionally wounded find love in James who is a boss with poker face?

There are a few aspects I like about Lucy’s writing style:

1.     She portrays women as successful figure with strong and financially independent characteristics. Stella’s high position is credited to her sheer hard work and capabilities. Even though the oncoming tasks are challenging, she will see through it. Meanwhile as a PA, Bella  has wits and works way smarter than her peers.

She hated public speaking, and this was to an audience of almost a thousand. But Stella despised her own weakness, and forced herself to do whatever she found most demanding.

2.     Being observant and taking care of the feelings between two interacting characters. The characters’ feelings came through with good use of phrases. An example of this is when Stella was meeting up with her old friend, Emily.

Emily could easily have travelled to Moorgate, as she was no longer working, but their friendship was founded on the idea that they were equal and to have asked her friend to make the journey would have been too pointed an acknowledgement that Stella was successful and busy and Emily was not.

3.     The familiarity of an office environment. The pressure of negative news on share prices, trainees on board, fire drills (you should read how Lucy made something out of it), board meetings. The dialogues in the office are brilliantly written and convincing. And I particularly like that part about the team building, I was reading away with so much sense of familiarity because these things do happen in a company.

4.     Something about the office suit and tie and dress that’s attractive. And also the professionalism, somebody who handled emergency situation well, air of confidence in presentation, sense of authority, perhaps the cute guy behind the desk….

Uh okay, in conclusion 😛 I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because I love office stories, and it does not disappoint with combination of the passionate affairs in an energetic corporate with an observant writing.

Here’s an interesting interview with the author, who apparently is a veteran columnist on Financial Times.


6 thoughts on “Book Review: In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway

    • I used to read a lot of children books in English and Chinese back when I was a kid, and yeah I did have list of books, thanks to my mom~ 😀

      But the reviews in this blog are books that I read recently. I figured to write reviews so it’d serve as a journal for my reading and also helped others in picking out the right book.


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