Norma Reyes is 46 years old, a recent law school graduate who lives with her elderly mother. It is 2009 and the job market for new lawyers looks dismal; as a result, Norma accepts a job as a floating secretary for the law firm she interned at. While working as a floater, Norma meets Oscar who works in the copy center. The two quickly fall for one another, but Norma’s work situation goes from bad to worse when Oscar recovers a memo revealing Norma was not hired as a lawyer at the firm for reasons based on her age, ethnicity (Puerto Rican), and socioeconomic status. Norma finds herself in a (seemingly) uphill battle against her employers, at the same time she is forced to come to terms with some serious personal issues surrounding her relationships with Oscar and her family.
I picked this book up for $1.50 on my kindle because I was intrigued by the premise of a lawyer working as a secretary (I feel like I am in a similar situation, having my master’s and working in an admin role). It was a quick read and was much more serious than I thought it would be given the title and cover. There is a lot of cringe-worthy stuff in this book like the blatantly discriminatory memo, the demeaning way Norma is treated by her co-workers and family, and the sad fate of Norma’s mother. Very little goes well for Norma through much of the book and the punches keep coming. Normally, I can’t stand a story where nothing goes right for the character. The Floater, however, was an exception. I think the fact that Norma is growing and becoming stronger and more confident and less of a doormat as the story continues makes up for the fact that she is facing a lot of tough stuff.
I am not entirely sure of how I feel about the fact that Norma really only begins to stand up for herself after she meets Oscar. It didn’t read like she was dependent on him for strength, though. It more seemed that Oscar gave her someone to lean on, as well as the safety and love that she needed to grow a backbone. However, it takes quite a while for Norma is reciprocate the emotional support Oscar gives her. I don’t know. It’s a pretty popular convention in women’s fiction for the character to flourish right around the same time she meets the man of her dreams. I just don’t like the idea that these characters need the guys around to get themselves together.
Overall, though, this was an enjoyable read and something I’d certainly recommend to someone looking for something a little different in the vein of women’s fiction– Norma is a bit older than the usual character, is Puerto Rican, dates someone who is African American, and is not middle-class. There is also a little bit of legal drama in here too, which is a genre I’m not really familiar with (outside of television), but I imagine if you like women’s fiction and legal drama, you’d find something here to enjoy.