“Periodically a writer captures the pattern of comedy and tragedy that peppers office life like alternating colors of carpet squares. . . . As smart as Medoff’s critique of corporate inanity is, it’s tempered by compassion for these people, who are ultimately tender with each other, too. . . . Medoff finds plenty of hurt—but strains of hope, too.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
A razor-sharp and deeply felt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives—a riveting fusion of The Nest, Up in the Air, and Then We Came to the End that captures the emotional complexities of five HR colleagues trying to balance ambition, hope, and fear as their small company is buffeted by economic forces that threaten to upend them.
Rosa Guerrero beat the odds as she rose to the top of the corporate world. An attractive woman of a certain age, the longtime chief of human resources at Ellery Consumer Research is still a formidable presence, even if her most vital days are behind her. A leader who wields power with grace and discretion, she has earned the devotion and loyalty of her staff. No one admires Rosa more than her doting lieutenant Leo Smalls, a benefits vice president whose whole world is Ellery.
While Rosa is consumed with trying to address the needs of her staff within the ever-constricting limits of the company’s bottom line, her associate director, Rob Hirsch, a middle-aged, happily married father of two, finds himself drawing closer to his "work wife," Lucy Bender, an enterprising single woman searching for something—a romance, a promotion—to fill the vacuum in her personal life. For Kenny Verville, a senior manager with an MBA, Ellery is a temporary stepping-stone to bigger and better places—that is, if his high-powered wife has her way.
Compelling, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, these men and women scheme, fall in and out of love, and nurture dreams big and small. As their individual circumstances shift, one thing remains constant—Rosa, the sun around whom they all orbit. When her world begins to crumble, the implications for everyone are profound, and Leo, Rob, Lucy, and Kenny find themselves changed in ways beyond their reckoning.
Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting, and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp, and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love, and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.
Jillian Medoff is the author of the national bestseller I COULDN'T LOVE YOU MORE, as well as the novels GOOD GIRLS GONE BAD and HUNGER POINT. A former fellow at MacDowell, Blue Mountain Center, VCCA, and Fundación Valparaiso, she has an MFA from NYU. In addition to writing fiction, Jillian has a long career in management consulting and is currently a Senior Consultant at the Segal Group, where she advises clients on all aspects of the employee experience.
This Could Hurt 4.7 out of 5based on
11 months ago
This book was hilarious, tender, painfully real, and I recognized myself in every single character, whether selfish and scheming or earnest and hopeful. Jillian Medoff perfectly captured the workplace and its dynamics – the obsessions, the bonding, the misery, the team spirit. Work is where we live! Putting my entire work life in a novel that made me laugh and cry was a relief, a joy to read, and a triumph for the author. I loved it and didn’t want it to end.
More than 1 year ago
Masterful novel--funny, tragic, authentic and compelling.
More than 1 year ago
My Review of “This Could Hurt” by Jillian Medoff
Jillian Medoff , Author of “This Could Hurt”, has written a unique and intriguing novel that combines big business with personal lives. The genre of this novel is fiction.Jillian Medoff describes her characters as complex, complicated, lonely, confused, flawed and emotional perhaps due to the circumstances of the times.
In our society, everyone has to work to pay the bills, and some people are lucky to find a job that offers them everything that they are looking at. There are professional people who are doctors, nurses, teachers, police-officers, postal-workers, government employees, and many others that work in set organizations. In Jillian Medoff’s novel, the setting is a big company that holds the executives responsible, who hold the employees responsible for productivity. At Ellery Consumer Research, financial changes occur with the economic climate. The bottom line is to produce more, with costs being less. Often that means instead of hiring, letting go and firing employees. Of course this is very stressful.
At Ellery Consumer Research we get to glimpse at the lives of several people and their life in the workplace and out of the workplace. Rosa is one of the women who made it to the top of the corporate ladder. She tries to meet and anticipate the needs of her staff, even though she has a high pressure job. Rosa does try to be fair, and this is even more stressful, as she finds out who is loyal and those who betray the company. There is a big difference in living to work, and working to live.
Not everyone can take the stress, and several of the employees are lonely and looking for a relationship. Some are looking for friends. Some of the characters are go-getters and others are lazy and don’t carry their weight. Rosa tries to find a balance between what is good for her employees, and what benefits the company.
When something traumatic occurs, everyone is forced to take a deep look at what they really want. For those who enjoy some controversy and a different type of novel, I would highly recommend this.
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