Promising Young Women by Caroline O'Donoghue

Promising Young Women

For readers of THE COWS, SWEETBITTER or CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS - as well as for fans of FLEABAG or SEARCH PARTY - Caroline O'Donoghue's debut is a gothic, darkly witty novel about sex, power, work and being a young woman in a man's world."I don't know why it never occurs to me to ask for more: to be taken to dinner, or to be given a promise, or at the very least, an explanation of why things aren't working out with his wife. I know exactly wh...

Details Promising Young Women

TitlePromising Young Women
Release DateJun 7th, 2018
PublisherLittle, Brown Book Group
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Feminism, Adult

Reviews Promising Young Women

  • Roman Clodia
    Our company is teeming with women under thirty, and men approaching or over fifty. That is how the food chain works. Dozens of attractive young women do the grunt work for a handful of men, and the women get filtered out by motherhood. Its the corporate version of natural selection. This starts off like a conventional young-woman-starts-affair-with-older-married-boss storyline but ODonoghue is too canny a writer to merely re-tell an old, old stor...
  • Pip
    How is this a debut??? H o w ?I think this book raised my blood pressure, in the very best way.
  • Anna Luce
    ★★★★✰ 3.75 stars (rounded up to 4 since this is a debut) I was afraid, really, of being the main character in my own life. Promising Young Women is an intelligent and subversive novel that examines the darker and more twisted aspects of a relationship between a female employee and her boss. There was something about the story and its characters that reminded of Joyce Carol Oates (Zombie, Solstice, A Fair Maiden, and Nemesis) in that Pro...
  • Nick Imrie
    So I distrusted this book because I heard it was 'very topical'. And usually that means rushed out to catch the zeitgeist with lots of contrived sermons on The Topic. Also, I haven't read a book about young women having affairs in offices since I was a teenage girl who thought having affairs in offices was unbearably glamorous. But there's nothing like actually working in an office to make the idea of office affairs seem tedious and obscene.So my...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    This was fun until it became ridiculous. Read Break in Case of Emergency instead.
  • Karina Webster
    This was much darker than I expected and really addictive - i devoured it in two sittings. While I havent gone through any of the things in this book, it felt very believable and relatable. The writing was excellent, I highly recommend. This was much darker than I expected and really addictive - i devoured it in two sittings. While I haven’t gone through any of the things in this book, it felt very believable and relatable. The writing was ex...
  • Eva
    such a deliciously dark book - relatable, gripping, and it touches upon so many different issues such as gaslighting and male privilege. Jane is just a regular 20-something in London - her life is in transition, from being to a safe, secure yet ultimately unsatisfying relationship to being newly single, with lots of time & untapped ambition. Jane could be any girl that moves from a smaller city to London - where people tend to spend money they do...
  • Florina
    Brilliantly written, a lot darker and grittier than I expected, reminding me strongly at times of Margaret Atwood's "The Edible Woman". There's a sense of eeriness and downright horror that slowly creeps up on you, like the old adage about the frog simmering in the pot until it boils. On the one hand, you're reading a dark comedy, wrapped in an office romcom gone wrong, wrapped in a pseudo-domestic thriller, and on the other hand, underneath all ...
  • Tuti
    interesting and well-written account of what its like to be a twenty-something woman in london, working in marketing, getting involved in a complicated romantic power-game at the office - and surviving it. its definitely more then just chick-lit. underneath the glossy surface, real life-defining questions are being adressed in an intelligent and compelling novel. recommended. interesting and well-written account of what it‘s like to be a twen...
  • Adam
    What starts off as a seemingly conventional ingenue-in-the-city, restless millennial narrative deftly warps into something much darker and more interesting and genuinely original than might immediately seem apparent. A Gothic thriller wrapped up as "chick lit" that foxes our perception and judgment of what is chick lit, and gendered perceptions even of literary genre. The on the nose references to contemporary living might come off as too wincing...
  • Niamh
    This book is intoxicating. It's something that, once you're hooked in, there's no way you can get out until you've finished and figured out what happened.. Of course, it gives you those familiar man-hatred feelings, which always makes me excited, but there you go. It's a novel that goes through so many incarnations- at the beginning, it feels more like a chick-lit esque novel about sordid romance, then it becomes a little more intensive and sensu...
  • Josephine Quealy
    By golly this was good. It was uncomfortably close to the bone at times, and maybe that was part of the appeal. Everything that Jane did or thought, I could get. I could really get. The acerbic wit that runs through the story really makes it.
  • Kaloyana
    The first part of the book was more like 4,5 half stars for me - witty, wise, modern, confident, sharp, etc, everything I like in a contemporary novel, written by young female author. But the second half, turned out to be something like physiological thriller or something of that kind, I can't be sure. The ending was OK, but somehow weak, which made the book bleak. But mostly I enjoyed listening to it.
  • Jessica
    It can seem at first that the book focuses on the relationship between Jane and Clem, a married man. But really it's about all the abusive relationships: whether it is with a parent, a friend, a husband or a boyfriend. The slow decline of Jane feels so familiar and Im sure women can recognise themselves in some parts of her tormented life.
  • Imogen
    Both clever and witty, this book is an excellent commentary on power and control in the work environment, but also the fragility of mental health. I found it difficult to read at some points, but perhaps thats what gives it its realism and differentiates it from others of its kind. The characters never seem to be hugely likeable, yet theyre kind of relatable and the ending left me with a feeling of pride for Jane. Everyone has their flaws so agai...
  • Helen O'Hara
    I found this absolutely riveting. It's the story of a young woman involved with an older man, with all the usual red flags that that involves, but with a twist of magical realism that gives it a particularly strong punch. Jane Peters is an agony aunt in her spare time, but all her good advice can't stop her from making bad decisions in her own life that see her striking up a relationship with a more senior colleague. Will it help her career or de...
  • Peter
    Years ago, before the web and smart phones, I found myself in Tokyo. Through a cab window it was just another international city - offices, hotels, apartment blocks, shops, choking traffic. In the bars and restaurants of my tower block hotel I could have the same superficial but effective communication I was used to anywhere else in the world - which meant I could access a survival diet of westernized food and CNN while attending a series of meet...
  • Tenok
    I can see that Caroline O'Donoghue is good with words. She's funny, snappy, and clever. And I am sure she will have a successful career as a novelist. But I'm refusing to applaud this as a 'timely' novel in the era of the MeToo movement, because if only what it takes for a novel to work was whether or not it was timely. I don't find it empowering when a twenty-something professional woman (who has already had some relationship experience) complet...
  • Jessica
    I had high expectations, and sadly, they were not met. I can't say I was bored reading the first half but I wasn't as captivated by the book that I had expected to be. It got a bit better by part four but I must say I was disappointed by the ending. I was expecting something way more empowering and inspiring but the ending gave me nothing. Why did Jane just run away? (I mean, I kinda get it, but still.) Did Clem get away with what he did or were ...
  • Diem
    4.5Really fucking good!
  • Susan Lanigan
    This book really blew me away. Sylvia Plath meets Bram Stoker meets Marian Keyes. Ostensibly a contemporary fiction about a young woman working in an advertising agency who is pulled into a disastrous yet addictive relationship with a much older man, it contains elements of gothic and fantasy that are delicately sounded, yet very much present - and by the time you do detect them, you are well and truly along for the ride.Jane Peters is in her lat...
  • Jessie
    Relatable, dark, not too artful; an easy read.Nice to read a story about a young women which is dark without being too problematic. By which I mean, having an affair with an abusive older man who's your boss is always going to be problematic and the author doesn't like Lolita-it, she describes as it is. The characters are contemporary and complex. The protagonist feels like a friend. IMO the story relied on some random, serendipitous turns for pl...
  • Simina
    I enjoyed very much reading it, I just wish the main character would've been more involved in her own life; she seemed to be a witness to what's happening to her, like us, the readers, not the actual receiver of the acts performed on her. Like she's the spectator of her own disaster movie. Her overall emotionless perspective doesn't do her any good either, especially in terms of likability and relatability. And I think the author left out more th...
  • Sarah Nehemiah
    This was a really poignant portrait of a 20-something female in the workplace. The power dynamics between men in power and their female subordinates often gets overlooked in our society, which is why sexual harassment has prevailed for so long. This book rips off the bandaid and questions every move men in the workplace make by directly asking, is this okay, or are my feelings of being uncomfortable valid? I wont spoil any endings, but a lot of l...
  • Sarah Noonan
    Honestly this is one of the best fiction books I've read is a very long time because it made me feel angry, sad and want to cuddle Jane. Although admittedly the story-line isn't ground-breaking it's the way that Caroline portrays it that makes this book amazing.You feel ALL the feels. Highly recommend!
  • Susie Wang
    I actually skimmed this one sometime last year for work.To me, it's a story where you read the begining, and immediately know what would happen later in the book. I don't think I missed out too much skipping through a few pages.
  • Jessica Beare
    Not at all what I was expecting! I was thinking it would be a Dolly Alderton style read, but it's a fiction that I think it very apt to any working woman in their twenties, exploring the glass ceiling and struggles of finding out what we want to do with our lives, that we all have to deal with.
  • Laura King
    Thought this was just another new adult, millennial mid twenties crisis novel but it actually got really weird and I was into it
  • April
    Really enjoyed this! Loved the extended metaphor and the realistic portrayal of the medicore ups and downs of everyday life for modern 20-somethings in Britain. Lovely stuff! A Bridget Jones full of witty references and also a text that directly bows to the women's literature that has helped shaped the confusions that women experience when writing/shaping their own identity in a ever-shifting patriarchal world.
  • Qendxi
    very easy to read, that's why i read it in 4 days. Never read something like this before that's why i liked it this much i think. Thumbs up!