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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
An insightful, compelling exploration of the challenges and intricacies in the current tech landscape, Still Needs Work by Ellen Barker follows its engaging lead character as she navigates the uncertain and often harsh corporate world. While attending a conference in San Francisco, Marianne learns that her department is being shut down and she has been laid off. She returns to her childhood home in Kansas City where she has been living after a series of tragedies forced her to move back to the now sketchy neighborhood. Marianne comes face to face with the prejudices middle-aged persons face as they try to re-enter the corporate sector and the challenges women face at work. She also gains new insight into institutional discrimination as she reflects on her experiences.
Readers will find Marianne’s story of hardship, strength, finding community, and gaining a sense of belonging to be moving. The work offers its audience a lot to ponder as it examines the harsh realities of building a career in the tech world, including the unspoken and overlooked various forms of discrimination that plague it. Barker does a brilliant job of distinctly crafting the characters and portraying the main character’s struggles. I found Marianne’s perspective captivating, informative, funny, and refreshingly realistic. Still Needs Work by Ellen Barker is a relevant, immersive novel that explores the complexities of the corporate world through its true-to-life protagonist. Readers will relate to Marianne and find themselves cheering her on as she tries to rebuild her life.