Real World

Tim Paulson, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (310p) ISBN 978-0-525-24639-8
Cogent and dramatic, Paulson's second novel (after Success Story) depicts idealistic, ingenuous young Tom Petersen as he receives his grueling initiation into the ``real world'' upon joining a high-powered public relations firm in Manhattan. Raised in Memphis, Tom is conscientious, inhibited and boyishly eager to please when he starts his job at Niedermann and Associates, the world's second largest PR agency. Immediately, however, he feels overwhelmed and intimidated by the prospect of a 50-hour work week, his superiors' unrealistic expectations, whirlwind business trips, the need to pacify irascible clients and his first assignmentpublicizing asbestos products. Even more troubling is Tom's attraction to the lifestyle of his colleagues Jack Trill and MacRobert Stuart, whose amusements include cocaine, drinking and sexual freewheeling. While Tom ineffectually tries to resist these corrupting influences, his wife is coping with a new baby, the onset of rheumatoid arthritis and the traumatic loss of her job. Paulson's tale of life in Manhattan's corporate world is convincing and authentic, as he describes the intense competitiveness and backbiting and pettiness of the office milieu. Yet the upbeat ending he provides is credible. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
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