Skip to main content

I Hope This Finds You Well


I Hope This Finds You Well

The cover of I HOPE THIS FINDS YOU WELL leads one to believe that it's a cute, clever, humorous novel about working in an office and what one might resort to in order to keep one's job. Instead, I was surprised and delighted to find that Natalie Sue's debut grabbed me so much that I kept reading until late in the night to find out more about Jolene and her journey working as a cog at a huge conglomerate, Supershops, Inc.

What Sue does so well is to make Jolene a likable, relatable person, even if you can’t relate to her on any level. She ignores messages from her mother, lives in a decrepit apartment that is a mess, drinks way too much, and exerts minimal effort in her job. The only way she can make it through the day is to write really snarky comments at the end of emails to coworkers. She changes the text to a white font so they can't be seen. It makes her feel better.

"There is so much that is well done in I HOPE THIS FINDS YOU WELL.... This lovely, touching and clever book is Natalie Sue's first published novel, and I can't wait to see what comes next."

Jolene gets her petty pleasure that way until the day she forgets to make the font change and is caught. She is written up by the new HR person, Cliff, and made to undergo a series of sessions with him to help her understand how to better work with her fellow employees. Cliff also makes adjustments to her computer so that her emails are monitored. What he doesn't realize is that he inadvertently gave her access to all employee interoffice messages and emails.

Jolene learns that Supershops is getting ready to lay off workers. She needs her job so she can keep her miserable apartment and not move back home with her loving but somewhat overbearing Persian parents. Jolene decides to use the information in the emails to make her fellow employees like her and to ensure that she won’t be a victim of the layoffs.

But Jolene comes to understand that once you know what is behind the facade we all present to the world, it's hard to keep disliking others quite as much as you did before. Without realizing it, she becomes friends with others and starts to care about what happens to them. In doing so, she begins to grasp what she needs to get on with the life that she deserves.

There is so much that is well done in I HOPE THIS FINDS YOU WELL. Sue creates a catastrophic incident in Jolene's teenage past that still haunts her, even in her 30s. That tragedy has colored her life --- not in pretty pastel shades but in dark grays and bleak fog that at times threatens her very existence. But having friends, even just one good friend, can be a great start to not just getting through life, but enjoying it.

There's also plenty of humor, but the emotion and the connections we make with Jolene, and even some of the other employees, is what draws us into the lives of the workers at this one small office of this fictional conglomerate. We care about and root for them, especially for the vulnerable yet prickly Jolene. This lovely, touching and clever book is Natalie Sue's first published novel, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on June 8, 2024

I Hope This Finds You Well
by Natalie Sue

  • Publication Date: May 21, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Humor, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0063320363
  • ISBN-13: 9780063320369