Book Reviews

I have always enjoyed reading about careers in novels. The following book reviews are new entries and samples from my recently published book Storybooks Careers: Learning about jobs through fiction, non-fiction and memoir.  This collection was personally read/reviewed by my co-author, Alison Beale, and me.They are divided into the six interest categories based on John Holland's theory of career and vocational choice: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional. To identify your Holland Code purchase your copy of Storybook Careers or visit O*Net Online at 

If you have a book you would like us to consider for inclusion, we welcome your suggestion. Just send the title, author and occupation



We Begin Our Ascent, Joe Munego Reed - Fiction

     Sol is a professional cyclist competing in the Tour de France. His wife, Liz, is a geneticist in jeopardy of losing her funding. In support of Sol's career, Liz is persuaded by the team's coach to participate in illegal drug smuggling. The couple struggle with their morale values verses their ambitions.


The Dive From Clausen's Pier, Ann Packer - Fiction

     When a diving accident leaves her fiancee a quadriplegic, Carrie must make the difficult decision to stay at his side or move on. Sewing is one way she copes with this tragedy and her talent helps her to move forward.  A trip to New York and a mysterious older man play an important part in her life decisions.



Animal Scientist

Gorillas in the Mist, Dian Fossey - Memoir

     This is the author's account of spending thirteen years in the African rain forest studying the rare mountain gorillas.  Her groundbreaking scientific reporting has helped scientists to understand man's closest primate relative. Her research and brutal death paved the way for government protection of this dwindling species.


The Lost City of the Monkey God, Douglas Preston - Non-fiction

     The author joins a team of scientists to find a lost civilization in the jungles of Honduras. With a combination of technology and grit, they battle torrential rains, deadly snakes and life threatening diseases in an effort to discover one of the few untouched cultures remaining and the existing threats to modern civilization.



The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid - Fiction

      An aging starlet agrees to tell her colorful life story to a popular entertainment magazine. She promises and exclusive, but only if Monique Grant, a novice reporter, writes the story. The story describes the seven marriages of Evelyn, uncovers her one true love, and her puzzling motive for selecting Monique as her confessor.  

Circus Performer

The Orphan's Tale, Pam Jenoff - Fiction

When Noa discovers a boxcar of dead and dying infants headed for a concentration camp, she impetuously grabs one mewing baby boy and runs for the forest. Found half frozen by a member of a traveling circus, Noa and "her baby brother" Theo are taken Noa begins training by the talented aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, a bond forms between Noa and Astrid as their secrets unfold.


Mao's Last Dancer, Li Cunxin - Memoir
          A memoir about a young boy growing up in China during the reign of Mao. The author is selected to become a dancer and is taken from his home and family to be trained as a ballet dancer in Beijing. At one point he has the opportunity to be an exchange student in Texas. This unforgettable experience encourages him to develop a dangerous plot to defect to the United States, leaving his family and prior life behind.


Children's Therapist

The Magic Hour, Kristin Hannah - Fiction

     Julia is a therapist who was just exonerated from a murder trial after one of her patients shoots her high school classmates. Reeling from the trial and filled with self-doubt, her sister, a small town sheriff, calls upon Julia to rehabilitate a "wild child" who has mysteriously appeared in this rural community on the Washington peninsula.  With great misgivings, Julia steps up to the challenge.


Small Great Things,Jodi Picoult - Fiction

     Ruth is a dedicated nurse who works in the neonatal  care unit of a large hospital.  She is also the only African-American nurse on this department's staff. When a white supremacist family prohibits her from touching their baby she is offended but professional. Left alone one night in the NICU, the baby goes into cardiac distress and dies.  Ruth is accused of murder and a trial ensues, Lives are changed in dramatic ways for both the accusers and the accused.

Non-profit Administrator/Women's Advocate

The Female Persuasion, Meg Wolitzer - Fiction
        A victim of molestation at a college party, after graduation, Greer joins an non-profit organization that fights for women's right . But the lofty goals of her mentor and organization director, Faith Frank, are colored by politics, money and the disparate values of the generations.


Human Resources Specialist

This Could Hurt,Jillian Medoff - Fiction

Rosa Guerrero rose up in her organization to become the director of Human Resources. As she mentors the staff that come into her charge, fear, ambition and a changing workplace dramatically affect the lives of each of the characters. Anyone who has worked in a corporate setting can relate. Pay careful attention to the organizational charts at the beginning of each section.

Investigators and Special Agent

Killers of the Flower Moon,David Grann - Non-fiction

When the Osage Indians of oil rich Northern Oklahoma begin dying off in mysterious ways, J. Edgar Hoover sends out Texas Ranger, Tom White to investigate. As corruption and abuses are uncovered the FBI comes into its own as  it takes on its first major homicide investigation.

Shop Owner
The Stubborn Season, Lauren Davis - Fiction
         This story takes place in Canada during the depression. Irene's father is a pharmacist who runs the local pharmacy and general store. His alcoholism ultimately leads to his death. Irene takes over the store operations and the care of her mother who is mentally ill. Neither is easy in these difficult econimic times. There is also an element of anti-Semetism that arises as Germany grows more powerful and war is eminent. This is a mother/daughter story of co-dependency and empowerment. 


The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane - Fiction
          Ruth is an elderly women living alone outside a small town by the sea in England. She is surprised by the appearance of an unexpected caregiver the government has seemingly sent to care for her. Frieda insinuates herself into Ruth's life in various ways which at first Ruth likes, but then things turn creepy. Frieda gradually moves into Ruth's house, interferes in a budding relationship with an old flame and stirs up some of Ruth's deepest fears.

BiblioPile Press: When your career matters.