The Diary of a Mad Legal Secretary by Eve Halliburton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Stephen King said that people love reading about what others do for a living because it’s so entertaining and thrilling at the same time with subject matters being closed to the real world. It gives readers a sense of realism or verity in which we all are rooted because work is what ties to us in reality where we face existential absurdities in dealing with human imperfections in conjunction with performing demands imposed on our daily tasks at work.
Hence a story of a neurotic legal secretary who has good heart but is driven to a borderline madness by witnessing the idiosyncratic characters she encounters in the office: The bumptious boss, the snobbish lawyers and their ilk, the ingratiating and ruthless HR personnel, the pitiful and sometimes cunning co-workers. Reading this story is like watching a black comedy which induces both pathos and satirical comedic relief. In fact, this diary seems to be more of a therapy journal in which the narrator purges out her hidden innermost feelings and emotions about her work and the people at it; it’s a Punch-like compendium of caricatures in word format.
Ms. Halliburton could have written this hilarious book as her memoir of a seasoned legal secretary in a prestigious Manhattan law firm. Or more likely than not, the author might have written this diary as a way of releasing her own stress and distress. For whatever reason it might be, Stephen King was right in saying that we enjoy stories of others in relation to their jobs because this book is easy to read and enjoyable, providing the reader with the kind of pleasure a Peeping Tom indulges in by peeking at what others do and feel about their work with a telescope.