Parnassus Books is happy to welcome Camille Perri as she reads from and signs The Assistants.
Camille Perri’s timely and “wickedly funny debut” (Vanity Fair) combines a delicious revenge fantasy with a bull’s-eye portrait of well-educated twenty and thirty-somethings struggling to rise above their lowly, demeaning, assistant-level jobs. Perri brilliantly captures the income-inequality angst that motivates a group of smart, underpaid young women to take matters into their own hands with a clever embezzlement scheme calculated to get them their piece of the pie.
RULE #1: All important men have assistants.
RULE #2: Men rule the world. Still.
RULE #3: There is enough money. There is so much money.
Tina Fontana is not quite sure how she is still an assistant at 30. After graduating from NYU with a vague ambition to be a journalist, she drifted through some low-level, short-term jobs before landing what seemed like a plum position—assistant to Robert Barlow, who helms the media conglomerate Titan Corp.
Yet, here it is six years later, and Tina is still making restaurant reservations and micromanaging the everyday details of Robert’s life, with no hope of advancement in sight. And all for a mid-five figure salary that barely covers the rent on her moldy, rat-infested Brooklyn apartment.
Then, one day, an accounting snafu over some emergency travel arrangements for Robert results in Tina receiving a reimbursement check made out to her in the amount of $19,147. It is nearly the exact amount she still owes on the decade-old student loan that has been hanging around her neck like an albatross. Tina does the unthinkable—cashes the check and pays off the loan. The relief she feels is counterbalanced by the guilt that weighs heavily on a good Catholic girl’s conscience. She is happy to put this one-off indiscretion behind her, but quickly discovers that her little criminal act has been noticed by another peon in the corporate megalith. Emily Johnson, assistant to the director of Travel and Entertainment, is onto what Tina has done, and she promises not to rat her out if Tina will help her pay off her own student loans with Titan expense money, too.
With wit and a keen sense of what it is really like out there for today’s working girl, Camille Perri has fashioned a spot-on, all-too-relevant workplace novel with universal appeal that’s a rallying cry for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid women who are asking themselves, “How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants?”
Camille Perri has worked as a books editor for Cosmopolitan and Esquire and, earlier in her career, was a ghostwriter of young adult novels, a fiction reader for The Paris Review, and a reference librarian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University and a Master of Library Science degree from Queens College. Perri wrote the first draft of The Assistants while working as the assistant to the editor-in-chief of Esquire.