Monday, July 25, 2022

Book Review: Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair

By Marisa Appleton

When Gina Mulley turns 18, it is time for her to find a job. Ever many failed attempts, Gina gains a reputation for quitting jobs before she's even given them a chance. The issue is that Gina Mulley is determined to become a tattoo artist. Set in 1985 Long Island, Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair by June Gervais is a coming-of-age story, following Gina’s journey as an apprentice tattooist. When she is employed by her brother Dominic in his tattoo shop, Gina has to work hard to prove herself.

The family dynamic changes when Dominic meets Jeri Harrison. Jeri and her father invest in the shop, which leaves Dominic out of control and unable to meet the needs of Gina’s apprentice contract. Once, Dominic and Jeri fall in love, Gina is outcast by her brother and is left to rely on her new, mysterious friend Anna. Working as a psychic’s assistant, Anna makes Gina finally feel confident in herself. The closer their bond gets, the less Dominic welcomes Anna. 

When Gina and Anna fall in love, Dominic gives Gina an ultimatum. She's faced with an impossible choice: Is the romance and newfound independence she's found worth sacrificing her dreams? Or can she find a way to have it all?

Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair is a heart-warming novel about a young girl’s search for a sense of belonging and self-identity. Throughout the novel, Gina desperately wants to become a tattoo artist but that is not easy given the setting of 1985 Long Island. June Gervais creates a loveable, relatable character who has had a traumatic life before we meet her. With an abusive, alcoholic mother, Gina relies on her brother Dominic for everything; she even aspires to be a tattoo artist just like him. I’m sure all teenagers can relate to the difficult decision of deciding what career path to follow, especially when your family is steering you in the opposite direction. 

Gina’s relationship with Dominic breaks down throughout the novel, with him failing to stick up for her and failing to give her the training he promised. The turning point of the novel is when Dominic forces Gina to choose between her apprenticeship and her relationship with Anna. Whilst this homophobic attitude is unsurprising given the time period that the novel is set in, Dominic’s failure to stick up for Gina to his soon-to-be father-in-law shows how much his character has diminished since the start of the novel. The queer representation in this novel is significant as it is not your traditional love story with a happy ever after! 

If you are looking for a heart-warming read that is different to your typical love story, give Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair a go!

Thanks to Viking for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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