Temporary Insanityby Leslie Carroll
A touching and hopeful look at the underworld of the office temp from hilarious author Leslie Carroll.
Meet Alice Finnegan: 30-something, single, and stuck in a cycle of horrific secretarial temp jobs. She's trying to fulfil her childhood ambitions of on-stage stardom while sharing an apartment with her 90-something grandmother, a feisty, funny, former
A touching and hopeful look at the underworld of the office temp from hilarious author Leslie Carroll.
Meet Alice Finnegan: 30-something, single, and stuck in a cycle of horrific secretarial temp jobs. She's trying to fulfil her childhood ambitions of on-stage stardom while sharing an apartment with her 90-something grandmother, a feisty, funny, former Ziegfeld showgirl.
Along the rocky road to independence Alice encounters a colourful cast of oddballs, nuts, and control freaks (including members of her immediate family). And just to keep life interesting, she succumbs to the pitfalls of office romances and the perils of nasty bosses as she endeavours to keep her sanity intact and make that big break into the spotlights.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Read an Excerpt
By Carroll, Leslie Sara
Avon BooksISBN: 0060563370
When he took me in his arms, almost literally sweeping me off my feet, I could smell the Bay Rum on his cheeks. It was a scent that took me back a few years ... back to the days when we were in college together and the sweetly pungent fragrance would be connected forever in my mind with no other man but him, although it never went any further at the time than a sophomore's secret crush on a senior. I used to get a giddy rush of anticipation and undergo a flurry of hormonal overactivity when the aroma of Jon's aftershave would float through the corridors, announcing his imminent presence, invading my nostrils with pure, unadulterated lust.
These days we were no longer students, but pros at this kind of thing. Torn between exploring the look in his deep brown eyes (to see if he was as into this as I was), and succumbing to total fantasy, I chose to close my eyes and inhale the Bay Rum. I was immediately transported to a sundrenched beach on Jon's native Caribbean island, where breezes wafted through coconut palms and an afternoon's biggest decision was whether to order a planter's punch or a mai tai.
In all the time I'd known him, and certainly on every occasion when our paths had crossed since graduation, including the star-studded funeral of Nick Katzanides, the guiding light of our alma mater's theater department, I'd wondered what it would be like to kiss Jon; how it would feel to dance a salsa with our tongues; his strong, permanently tanned arms enfolding my body, holding me until I could feel our hearts bongo to the same rhythmic beat.
The reality was even more glorious than I had imagined. And believe it or not, it was all in a day's "work." Show business is an iffy career path at best, but boy-oh-boy, there are days like today that make all the years of struggle and tenacity worthwhile -- when that trajectory can rocket you all the way to heaven.
"Okay, you two, you can stop now." The director's voice, evincing a slight impatience, intruded on my idyll. Jon and I broke our embrace. I gazed up at him. Already wearing three-inch stilettos, I'd been standing on my tiptoes to get the full benefit of kissing this six-foot-four demigod. "Jesus, that was amazing," I murmured to him, deliciously dazed. The kiss was the kind that could make a normally sane woman lose her mind.
"Just trying to help you get the part, Alice," Jon murmured in my ear. He gave it an improvisational nibble and I nearly melted onto the floor of the rehearsal studio. "It's the least I can do for an old C.U. classmate."
"An old C.U. classmate who doesn't have an agent," I whispered. "I only got this audition because I wrote a note to the casting director telling him we were old pals." Jon had come a long way since our days as theater students together. While I was one of thousands of young actresses with talent and training trying to make it in New York, competing for only a handful of roles compared to the number of parts written for men, Jon was blessed with being tall, dark, hunky, and gifted. He had also developed a reputation for being a genuinely nice guy in a cutthroat business. His star ascended quickly when, just a few years out of college, he was plucked from relative obscurity by a megawatt movie star producing her first film. She took one look at Jon's screen test and essentially told the casting director to wash him, strip him, and bring him to her tent.
From then to now, he'd become a household name in Hollywood and was making a rare return to the New York stage. I was among the dozens of women called in to audition for the supporting role of his wacky girlfriend. And it was true that the only reason I got a special appointment and the opportunity to read with the star himself was because we were old buds. Part of Jon's charm was that he didn't forget where he came from or whom he'd encountered or worked with along the way, even if their careers weren't at the same level as his.
"Good reading, Alice," the director said. He and the casting director had barricaded themselves behind a long folding table littered with stacks of actors' photos and résumés, donut crumbs, crumpled napkins, paper coffee cups, and a large bottle of Tums. "Strong work on the scene, and ... obviously you two have some chemistry going there."
I felt the heat spreading into my hairline. "Well, we've known each other since ..." I realized I didn't want to give away my age.
"It's easy to work with Alice," Jon said graciously, preserving what was left of my professional dignity.
The director nodded noncommittally. "We'll just take the script from you -- "
Oh, right, there's a script. This is real life, not my bluest dreams. I retrieved the loose pages from the floor, where I had let them slip from my hand during the make-out session with Jon.
" -- and we'll be in touch," the director continued. "If you don't hear from us by the end of the week, it means we decided to go another way with the role." He wasn't making any effort to move, so I approached the folding table and shook his hand.
Jon came over and gave me a soft peck on the cheek. "Great to run into you again, Alice," he said, affectionately placing his warm hand on the small of my back. "If I don't see you, good luck with your career."
"I really appreciate what you did for me this afternoon. It was very sweet." I was trying to express my enormous gratitude with grace; that is, without bursting into tears or jumping Jon's bones (again) for joy ...Continues...
Excerpted from Temporary Insanity by Carroll, Leslie Sara Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Native New Yorker Leslie Carroll is also a professional actress, dramatist, and journalist. Her first two books, contemporary romantic comedies set in her hometown, won a series of rave reviews. She also writes historical and New York "tart noir" detective fiction. Leslie has worked more temp jobs than she cares to remember in the fields of politics, advertising, public relations, and far too frequently law. But it's all ripe for social satire and fodder for fiction!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Temporary Insanity, Leslie Carroll¿s latest New York ¿valentine¿ makes you laugh -and cry as it relates the uncanny and sometimes downright zany experiences of thirty-something Alice Finnegan earning her keep moving from one temporary job to another. Alice lives with her ninety something Grandmother, a former Follies showgirl a mischievous and feisty lady always ready with cogent observations of Alice¿s situations. She delights Alice¿s friends with her high kicks and even teaches one of them to tap dance. The synergy between Gram and Alice is warm and appealing -you just have to love their spirited relationship. When we meet Alice, she is an aspiring actress, earning her keep working for an uncle, whom she calls ¿Uncle Earwax¿, a partner in the law firm of Balzer and Price. When his tirades and berating get the best of her, she sets out on her own, signing on with Turbo Temps. She then embarks on a series of jobs, each one stranger than the one before. At Newter & Spade a colleague calls her ¿Muppet¿ and she falls in love with him only to find he is anything but loveable. An actor friend, about to go on tour, paves the way for her to get his executive assistant job at an association whose initials spell ¿ARMPIT¿. There her difficult boss, C. Hunt, tells her to ¿look busy¿ then puts her to work planning her daughter¿s wedding. All the while Alice, and her actor buddies are trying to figure ways to fund their fledgling theater company. When Gram asks for a trip to Atlantic City as a birthday present, Alice obliges. This adventure makes Gram act and feel like a teen-ager. To watch Gram gleefully enjoying the trip makes it all worthwhile for Alice. This book is FUN! A great summer read - a beach bag must. Five stars!
Thirty-something Alice Finnegan pays the rent doing odious temporary office jobs for nasty bosses while hoofing the mean streets of Broadway seeking acting gigs. Her nonagenarian grandmother, a long ago retired showgirl, lives with Alice and encourages the dream. Besides her beloved grandma, Alice finds solace from being an out of work actress with her perfuming pals Izzy and Dorian. The Three Musketeers are there for each other. The support of these two and her granny keeps her going when office dating turns out wrong and her daytime bosses assign her the handling of trash projects. As directors tell her what they want her to fix about herself that is when they don¿t want to taste the goods personally, Alice, in spite of all that negativity, expects to one day be the toast of the city with her musketeers at her side. This is a fun chick lit tale starring a delightful protagonist who with the help of her friends takes blows, but keeps on trying. Alice is a wonderful protagonist; many readers will root for her to turn Broadway into her wonderland especially when they watch the invasion of the permanent crowd on the residents of temp world. Deeper than the amusing REALITY CHECK and MISS MATCH, TEMPORARY INSANITY is a solid look at someone trying to make it to the majors, but must eat first. Harriet Klausner
I read Temporary Insanity with some trepidation. I was not a fan of Ms. Carroll's previous books, Reality Check and Miss Match, finding them cliched, but Temporary Insanity is a big step forward in the right direction. Chick-lit is Ms. Carroll's niche. Alice Finnegan is in her thirties and trying to juggle a day job, while pursuing her first love acting and taking care of her elderly grandmother, a former showgirl. The heart of the book is Alice's relationship with her grandmother, their's is the real love story in the book. Alice's grandmother has nurtured her theatrical ambitions by giving her unconditional love and support. Alice also has two best friends Izzy and Dorian, fellow performers, who call themselves the Three Muskateers, all for one and one for all. Alice's temp jobs are sharply drawn as she richochets from one bad temp to another. All the details are there, the guilt one feels at pursuing your dream while on someone else's payroll, the boredom of extra work. Most of the book has heart, something missing from Ms. Carroll's previous works. The only weaknesses in the book are once again Ms. Carroll's lack of research. It's unusual for anyone who temps to only temp with one firm. If you're temping, you work for the agency, not the company you're temping for, so if you go on unemployment, the temp agency would be the one to refuse benefits not the company (I should know I was on unemployment most of last year.) Also, soap operas don't have seasons and an Executive Producer would never be able to run the show from across the country. But those are minor quibbles. If Ms. Carroll keeps up the effort with her next book, she might just become an author of note.