Review The Interns by Samantha Bailly
A refreshing novel, but it sometimes falls into some facilities.
Ophélie, Arthur, Hugues and Alix, coming from various backgrounds, are the new trainees of Pyxies, a Parisian company specialized in manga and video game publishing. Their common point ? Their will to prove themselves in a company that makes them dream, despite a precarious status and a mediocre salary. Their Grail ? Hiring at the end of their internships.
The novel is divided between the points of view of Ophélie and Arthur, two trainees with diametrically opposed mentalities and life paths. One comes from the provinces and fights to succeed in the field she is passionate about despite financial difficulties and a lack of family support. The other comes from the Parisian upper middle class with a well-stocked wallet and has graduated from a prestigious business school. One is solid and well anchored where the other is unhealthy and lost.
Two characters who are also very different in their way of being: Ophelia fights to reach her goals while questioning her life choices, while Arthur wallows in his excesses and his capricious and contradictory desires, not hesitating to hurt others. It is through their journey in Pyxis that we see them evolve, question themselves and perhaps find the answer to some of their questions.
Samantha Bailly delivers here a young adult novel that reminds us of the years of internships that have marked our careers as young professionals, between minimum wages, crazy schedules and doubts. The author paints an often acerbic portrait of these companies that hire trainees and kleenex employees in order to provide quality work at a lower cost, not hesitating to dangle a possible hiring as a means of pressure to make the slightest resistance or rebellion bend. However, we can still reproach it with some facilities. First of all, its characters are sometimes a bit caricatured, either through their thoughts or actions.
We can see it with Arthur, a young white boy, sly and contemptuous, thinking that everything is due to him thanks to his good looks and his fortune, but remaining deeply frustrated by his life which he does not find the meaning. It poses however vitriolic look on its environment, of which it denounces the false pretenses without escaping it. On the other hand, Ophélie has all the qualities of the basic heroine (cute, voluntary, hard-working and honest) who pursues her path despite the difficulties and doubts.
A bit too smooth for my taste.
It is also regrettable that Pyxis and the world of interns have been replaced by love stories that finally take precedence over the harshness and instability of the corporate world for these young hopefuls. This Roman is nevertheless a rather honest portrait of the internship world, well anchored in our time. Many readers will recognize their path in today’s society, where social networks are now an integral part, and where new communication strategies are more friendly in appearance to better tighten the screw behind.
In the end, “the trainees” remains a pleasant and quick novel to read that will easily satisfy the greatest number of people!