Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

Green Dot – Madeleine Gray

Green Dot - Madeleine Gray - Keeping Up With The Penguins
Buy Green Dot here
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The blurb of Green Dot promises an “irresistible and messy love story… about the joys and indignities of coming into adulthood”. So, you can understand why I was thrilled to receive a copy for review from Allen & Unwin.

Hera is in her mid-20s, still living with her dad in Sydney and preemptively exhausted by the life of drudgery she expects to find in the workforce. Lacking any better options, she takes a job as an online comment moderator for a news publication. Things start looking up when an older male colleague catches her eye. When she finds out he’s married, it doesn’t put a dent in her plans to fall in love with him.

Green Dot is a workplace affair novel where the young woman is both self-destructive and self-aware. No one is going to get #MeToo’d, no powers are abused – Hera knows exactly what she’s doing, and what she wants to get out of it. It reminds me of Luster, in that sense. (The blurb also likens it to books by Meg Mason, Sally Rooney, and Dolly Alderton.)

Green Dot is also full to the brim with dark, wry humour. I loved it. I laughed out loud, a lot. I particularly enjoyed the fun little meta nods to the format that Gray sprinkles throughout the narrative. Something tells me that she’s done a stint as an aimless 20-something Sydneysider, because I can tell you from experience that she nails it. The only thing that struck me as unrealistic was the fact that Hera’s office didn’t hot-desk.

Reader beware of a terribly sad dog death towards the end – by which point, the emotional arc of Green Dot already feels a bit drawn out, so it’s especially crushing. Aside from that, it’s a wonderful debut from an Australian writer to watch.

Buy Green Dot on Booktopia here. (affiliate link)


  1. You’ve sold me! It’s going on my to buy list. I did originally pass it over because the cover didn’t excite me.

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