Monday, May 20, 2013

50 Jobs in 50 States: One Man's Journey of Discovery Across America by Daniel Seddiqui

This book has an intriguing premise: work in all 50 states in one year. Seddiqui makes it even better by choosing jobs that represent each state such as farming corn in Nebraska, making cheese in Wisconsin, logging in Oregon, and shelling peanuts in Georgia.

50 Jobs in 50 States is too short for the ground it attempts to cover, though. It could easily have been 50 pages longer, one more page for each state. For that matter, it would have been better if the author spent at least two weeks per job. The journey seems rushed, and for all the effort he put into securing each job it would have been ideal to spend more time at each one.*

But the book's biggest flaw is too much about Seddiqui and not enough about the work. I'd say this has risen to the level of pet peeve for me since I see it in so many books. Isn't one of the cardinal rules of writing "don't let yourself get in the way of a good story"? People don't want to read about you; they want to read about what you did. Especially annoying is his relationship with a psychotic** pseudo-girlfriend. It's a perfect example of something that seems important to the writer personally at the time while readers really don't give a shit. Heck, in 5-10 years Seddiqui probably won't care about her anymore either. I hope.

* Of course, it's hard enough to commit a whole year to a project, much less two, so I don't fault the author for this even though I think it would have resulted in a better book.

** I don't throw that word around casually. The woman has serious issues.

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