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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Rich Pickings by Axel van Reenen, as Jake Egerton leaves Oxford University, he is looking forward to beginning a new chapter in his life in the financial sector of London. He becomes an investment banker for Brasher Menthol in Canary Wharf and sets his sights on status, power, and wealth. Soon unimaginable rewards are on offer but Jake realizes they come at a price. He is soon prescribed medication by the organization's doctor for his anxiety and as the pressure of work mounts up, so does his daily intake of drugs. He gradually loses sight of who he is as he strives to follow in his boss Mark's footsteps. The battle to succeed and fit into the unforgiving corporate jungle engulfs him in a world he was not prepared for. Follow Jake's first year in the finance industry and the colorful characters he meets along the way.
The entire plot of Rich Pickings by Axel van Reenen is extremely compelling. I loved Jake's enthusiasm to succeed but you could slowly see his values and morals gradually being depleted as he tries so hard to be accepted and prove his worth. The scene at the beginning with the shoeshine boy from Eastern Europe was very powerful and highlights the attitude of those in power perfectly. Jake is a fantastic protagonist, his character is flawed but at his core, Jake is an extremely kind and caring person. He simply wants to make something of his life. I found the scenes where he is coerced into losing part of his character quite uncomfortable to read, but that is a testament to the incredible writing. The dialogue and events were really authentic to the personalities of the characters. The entire storyline gives you a very realistic insight into the corporate world and the internal battles to succeed. It would be very interesting to discover where Jake's career goes in the future.