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Germaine Johnson may not be all that good with people but she’s great with numbers. Unfortunately, as she discovers after the incident at Wallace Insurance, there are very few openings these days for senior mathematicians.
Then her cousin gets her a job at the council. On the Senior Citizens Helpline.
It’s not the resume entry Germaine wanted—but it turns out Mayor Verity Bainbridge has something more interesting in mind for her. A secret project involving the troublemakers at the senior citizens centre and their feud with the golf club next door. Which is run by the strangely attractive Don Thomas.
Don and the mayor want the seniors closed down.
Germaine wants what Don and the mayor want. But when she’s forced to get to know the ‘troublemakers’—things get more complicated.
A sharp, witty, big-hearted comedy from a hilarious new Australian writer, Katherine Collette’s The Helpline is about people power and brain power—and the difficulty of getting them to work together.
About the Author
Katherine Collette is a writer and environmental engineer. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two children. The Helpline is her first novel.
Very impressive first novel. Well paced, enjoyable and humerous . Main character unusual but identifable. Particularly liked the portrayal of her romantic feelings. Topical and on point too on the use of land by Councils. Recommend as a holiday xmas read. Hope someone picks it up for a TV series.
Catriona the reader.
Funny and heartwarming, a brilliant debut novel
The Helpline is the first novel by Australian author, Katherine Collette. After four months of unemployment (it's proving a challenge to keep busy all day), Germaine Johnson is somewhat relieved to take the job that her cousin Kimberley lined up with the Deepdene City Council. While, as a senior mathematician, she considers her position on the Senior Citizens Helpline as well below her qualifications, she's already collecting data with a view to minimising inefficiencies and streamlining the process.
Then Mayor Verity Bainbridge singles her out for a special project: Germaine is sent to the Senior Citizens Centre to settle an ongoing parking dispute with the nearby Fitzsimmons Golf Club. When she discovers just who the owner of the golf club is, she's eager to resolve the issue, but it turns out not to be a simple matter to sort out. And perhaps some of the parties have hidden agendas?
The complication in all of this is that Collette's protagonist is great with numbers but less so with people. Germaine night be somewhere "on the spectrum"; she certainly has a touch of OCD; she's often oblivious to social cues; she manages to rationalise poor decisions, allows her infatuation to cloud her judgement, and is sometimes incredibly naïve. But eventually, she does find out what's truly important in life (and it's not status, career, money or personal connections).
What a wonderfully diverse support cast Collette gives Germaine: a cheating sudoku champion, a manipulative mayor, a grumpy club president, a CWA-prize-winning cook; an activist mother; a very smart six-year-old boy; a creative helpline operator; a manager with a conscience; a persistently friendly neighbour; and a casually clad IT expert.
Collette includes plenty of laugh-out-loud humour, but also a few poignant moments. It should come as no surprise to readers that this excellent novel is published by Text Publishing: Germaine Johnson could easily be the cousin of Grace Lisa Vandenberg (Toni Jordan's "Addi
`Delightful feelgood fun.' * Toni Jordan * `I fully recommend this book. I just loved it.' * ABC Sydney * `Many readers today are searching for light but clever comic writing with a bit of a punch; they will happily find it in Katherine Collette's debut.' * Books + Publishing * `Wonderfully quirky.' * Good Reading * `An endearing story about power, ambition, greed and friendship.' * Readings * `Cockle warming human moments to lift you up.' * 2SER * `The great buzz for this book is warranted.' * Booklover Book Reviews * `Cleverly conceived and plotted, wryly comic, good-hearted and consistently engaging.' * NZ Listener * `Beautifully intimate, authentic and accessible.' * Better Reading * `A sharp, subversive social comedy.' * Weekend Herald * 'The character of Germaine, endearing but far from cutesy, is the great triumph of this accomplished debut.' * Sydney Morning Herald * `I like it more than Eleanor Oliphant... Great fun.' * Radio New Zealand * `Witty and unexpectedly charming, The Helpline is genuinely hilarious.' * Overland *
ISBN: 9781925603606 ISBN-10: 1925603601 Audience:
Number Of Pages: 400 Published: 3rd September 2018 Publisher: Text Publishing Co Country of Publication: AU Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6
Weight (kg): 0.5