American Female is a memoir set in approximately one year of Emily Carpenter’s life 2013/2014 while she worked for businessman Rune Andromeda.
Based in St Louis, Rune runs a camera bag business called “Click”, bags for adventure photographers. Emily is employed as Rune’s Deputy Director, entering the business knowing nothing, Rune grooms Emily via extreme controlling and manipulating actions alternating positive and negative appraisal which reflect a sociopathic personality disorder.
Emily accompanies Rune on trips to Asia to meet suppliers, factories and new business contacts. Emily later organises their stand at a trade show in Cologne and is even asked to organise Rune’s wedding in Central America. A ruthless businessman Rune expects his workers to be available 24/7, adhere to strict company rules and accept his withdrawal of performance related pay over minor details. He is a manipulative monster, constantly berating Emily to the point of collapse, then switching on his “Mr Nice Guy” routine.
The punishing demands of Rune put paid to Emily’s personal life and at a low point she meets Dmitri and there is Instalove, but does this even stand a chance?
The writing style of this book takes the role of “Telling” rather than “Showing” us Emily’s story, which makes it hard to empathise with her. The year is filled with a mass of characters and it is hard to know which need remembering because they are key players, or which just have minor roles. I was disappointed by the ending. Part of me is not convinced about the seriousness of the work, when the work is advertised as a Doo Doo publication, a main business supplier is called Dumbo and even Rune’s camera business name “Click” is a poor choice. Add weak dialogue tags and a few disbelief moments at the credibility of several action scenes with timing, makes me suggest the book goes through another edit.
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