Author: Katherine Collette
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: July 23, 2019
Book Description: An eccentric woman who is great with numbers—but not so great with people—realizes it’s up to her to pull a community together in this charming, big-hearted debut perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and The Rosie Project. Germaine Johnson doesn’t need friends. She has her work and her Sudoku puzzles. Until, that is, an incident at her insurance company leaves her jobless—and it turns out that there are very few openings these days for senior mathematicians with zero people skills. Soon enough though, Germaine manages to secure a position at City Hall answering calls on the Senior Citizens Helpline. But it turns out that the mayor has something else in mind for Germaine: a secret project involving the troublemakers at the senior citizens center and their feud with the neighboring golf club—which happens to be run by the dashing yet disgraced national Sudoku champion, Don Thomas, a celebrity of the highest order to Germaine. Don and the mayor want the senior center closed down and at first, Germaine is dedicated to helping them out—it makes sense mathematically, after all. But when Germaine actually gets to know the group of elderly rebels at the senior center, they open her eyes to a life outside of boxes and numbers and for the first time ever, Germaine realizes she may have miscalculated. Filled with an eccentric, totally unique, and (occasionally) cranky cast of characters you can’t help but love, The Helpline is a feel-good page-turner that will make you reexamine what it means to lead a happy life—and is bound to capture your heart along the way.
Rating: 3 Stars
Review: I wanted a copy of this book because of the comparison to Eleanor Oliphant and The Rose Project. I just adored these books so much. However The Helpline was so different with the exception that these protagonists have some major peculiarities.
Germaine is an extremely bright mathematician who ends up losing her job due an issue with her temper. After months of being off work, she takes a job working for the city answering calls from Senior Citizens. Quickly she is recruited by the Mayor and the neighboring golf club to help shut doesn’t the senior center which she agrees to.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot, but there, because there are a lot of surprises with this story. My first opinion of this story, was I did not like it and Germaine was not endearing at all, unlike Eleanor Oliphant. However the last third of this book completely redeemed this. Be sure to stick through this one, because the payoff is high. In Germaine’s new role, she builds the relationships she never she wanted and she learns to stand up for herself.
This is a solid 3 stars, just because this took so long for this book to redeem itself.
Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.