Author:Tricia Stewart Shiu

Publisher:Human Being Publishing (March 16, 2016)



Please Hold holds many surprises.

It’s not a self-help, non-fiction book, although the cheerleader-like chapter titles, e.g., Clear a Path, Live Your Dream, Greet the Day, might so suggest. These titles also suggest some ambivalence about reality: Base Your Beliefs in Reality v. Reality Sucks.

The heroine is described as a “top level executive assistant:.” This is fine as long as one understands that “top level” modifies the executive and not our heroine, whose most responsible functions in the “high roller” field of entertainment appear to be limited to “go-fering” coffee and arranging calendar appointments. Problems with her co-workers, routine among many support staffers in many companies, become dramatic only when magnified through the lens of the central character’s neurosis. So, if you’re looking for an inside eye into the significant dynamics of the entertainment industry, you’ll have to please hold.

Our “hero” (she’d probably prefer that to “heroine”) is a past-obsessed neurotic who, in the first person singular present tense, blames most of her troubles on her parents’ stormy relationship and her co-workers’ perceived conspiratorial efforts to block her progress at the office. She faces these demons by recourse to a collection of mystical emblems and regular re-runs of the Mary Tyler Moore television show.

The author saves her big guns for the final pages. There is a legal mediation that is incredible, in whole and in part. There is a romantic union which promises that love conquers all. In the meantime, some of the author’s principal spiritual supports have been cast into the Pacific Ocean.

The ultimate surprise is that this book can have been published in its present form. Putting aside the erratic formatting, which leaves sentences hanging in the air and incomprehensible paragraphing, which may have been casualties of mobi formatting, there are recurring violations of almost every punctuation and grammatical rule in the book: its v. it’s, effect v. affect, to v. too, using the subjective pronoun as the object of a preposition, prepositions either left out or over-used, run-on sentences, and incorrect capitalization. The following is an example of something that would have not surviving the most cursory read through: “The fact that this total stranger has done more for than me in a few minutes,”?

Even the fawning introduction doesn’t seem to appreciate the difference between “imaged” and “imagined.”

And let’s not forget the plot holes: The heroine retrieves her mail because she “forgot” to check her mailbox the day before even though she never went home that day.

Publishing a book, even in these indulgent days, requires at least the creation of a captivating plot and characters as well as attention to rudimentary rules of grammar, punctuation, and other professional indicia. On all these fronts, I found Please Hold to be wanting.