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Overqualified

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,003 ratings  ·  128 reviews
Overqualified's cover letters are like a slap in the face, but the slap is hilarious, and you can't stop laughing, and as soon as it's over you want to tell all your friends about the slap. You know the kind? — Ryan North, Dinosaur Comics "Joey Comeau's Overqualified is Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret as chewed up and spit out by J. G. Ballard. . . . A bo ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by ECW Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,424)
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Manny
Sep 23, 2014 Manny rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who's ever applied for a job
Dear Goodreads,

I am applying for the position of Advertising Sales Director and I enclose a copy of my resume. I have no previous experience in advertising or sales, but I hope you will view my qualifications from a broader perspective.

Goodreads, I understand Internet addiction. I know what it's like to get up at three in the morning because you can't sleep and your life is falling apart and how you log on to a useless shitty social networking site because you're too stressed out and brain-dead
...more
notgettingenough
When I was little I used to lie wide awake in the dark at night in bed wondering. How do I know I’m me? How do I know I’m not somebody else? Or if somebody else is me? And if somebody else is me, who is it? Was that me who pinched my brother’s comic book this afternoon? I’d do tests to try to work it out. I’d feel my leg to see if it felt like it was mine. Sometimes it did. But sometimes it didn’t. Once, after we watched ET, I even thought it felt like the leg of a weird space monster with tenta ...more
Courtney
I picked this up last night and got about 50 pages in before I reluctantly put it down, so I could sleep, and then I woke up and finished it before I physically got up to drink coffee. Reading before coffee! It's possible to do that, you know. I wouldn't have believed it before today. I am now living proof.

ANYWAY. Overqualified is a novel told in cover letters (if you're a fan of A Softer World, yer probably no stranger to Overqualified), by a dude named--oddly enough!-- Joey Comeau. BUT! It is
...more
Jasmine


so this is my second review of the day and based on sleepiness likely my second best review of the day, but perhaps more to the point.

let's start simply, this book was a very good idea, this book was also a very good follow up to the last book I read. This book is basically saying the world has fallen to pieces, these pieces have fallen through the cracks and cannot be fixed, we accept and we live on. perhaps we are shells, we are not functional, we sit watching the weights press us down until
...more
Colleen Venable
A book hasn't hit me this hard in the gut in a while. I expected funny. I expected to love it, but I really didn't expect to wind up crying by the first 15 pages. Little tiny things would get me. Single sentences had the power to change the tone of an entire page. Sentences that seems to slip through the subconscious, sneak into a cover letter, and turn it into a diary. The voyeur in me loved it. The obsessive nostalgia and regret mixed with hints into the present where nothing is going quite ri ...more
John
I guess I don't get it. This book is a loose collection of cover letters that have some narrative elements tying them together (Joey's brother, his girlfriend/wife, his Acadian heritage, etc). I guess it is supposed to follow a timeline from earlier to later but I'm not sure. It's occasionally funny but mostly just sad. I don't know what I thought this book would be (a collection of funny cover letters? A more direct narrative?) but I guess it wasn't what I expected. I didn't find it particularl ...more
Lori
During spring break, I was bored and of course looking for a job. I also wanted to experiment with type. So, I wrote a cover letter in the form of a booklet with a non-traditional typographic layout. It wasn't a traditional cover letter, either. I wanted to play up my ability to write in English and three more languages, which, for an artist, is something unusual. Although there are artists that are also good writers, most visual people aren't very verbal. I wanted to tell prospective employers ...more
Graham
Selected bits that sum up the book better than I ever could:

"I feel weird writing this, I guess, but what if we die and nobody remembers those parts of us? What if all that's left is the censored version?"

"We'll wake up every day and we'll tell ourselves, 'Live for today, you retarded little shit. The end is near.'"

"People die, but that isn't any different from the edge of a table. The table is still there. It just doesn't stretch that far."

"I have a form of ESP that allows me to consistently pi
...more
Sean
Joey's golden-boy little brother has been hit by a drunk driver. Joey's relationship with his girlfriend, Susan, is faltering. His brother will die, and his relationship will end. And Joey will begin sending out job applications, one after another, each with a cover letter full of violence and anguish and sweet, childlike humor.

Joey Comeau is one of my favorite authors, especially when it comes to biting, perverted, meandering prose. I loved this book. I recommend both it, and him, very highly.
Lara
I nothing-ed this book. I only started reading it because my husband had borrowed it from someone and it was lying around the house and looked vaguely interesting. I think the idea was good, but it could have been executed much better--the funny parts weren't all that funny and the sad parts weren't all that sad. I felt like there was just never enough depth to it for me to actually care; everything seemed just a little too vague. So meh.

But yeah, at least it was short!
Jonathan Chapple
I loved this. Every single page is layered with humour and pain and pathos, a thick vein of darkness lies just under the surface, with good jokes glinting in the black like scattered glass.

It's short but maybe there's something to brevity, it hits you quicker and harder, never lets you put your guard up. It's lively and fun and largely quite sad.

There is an unerring idea at the core of this novel about the uncensored self and the character's sometimes manic personality reveals itself through ta
...more
Mina Villalobos
Apr 07, 2009 Mina Villalobos rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction
The internet is a very strange place. You don't really know a lot of people but it feels like you do, because even though they have no idea who you are you still follow their lives -or the bits they are willing to share- and in some strange way you feel like you know them. Like they are there for you, just outside your grasp, but there nonetheless.

I have that feeling about Joey Comeau. Like maybe he's not my friend, because I have been following him around for a very short time, but he's the fr
...more
Hollowspine
I've written a couple (thousand) cover letters in my ever, it seems, continuing attempts to become a real full time librarian, and each one really was just a form letter after a while, Dear Committee, I saw the posting for whatever on this board or that list, I think I would be A GREAT FIT for your position! !!! I really enjoyed reading the cover letters, laughing, even as I realized these were cover letters of someone who was past hope.

From the moment I got the book I liked it, the quality of t
...more
Billy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew
Overqualified geniusly employs one of the most original concepts for a story: the author's collection of actual cover letters sent with résumés to major companies chronicle his complicated struggle with failed romance, cultural identity and the death of his younger brother. Hilariously uncomfortable and totally flawed, Comeau's job-seeking persona is not only funny but painfully charming as he inappropriately indulges in cathartic prose in cover letters. Overqualified has genuine charm and is br ...more
Jamie
My brother-in-law handed this to me last night as I was scavenging their bookcases. He didn't give me much of a synopsis, only said "You have to read this," and I went "Okay."

I read the entire thing in one sitting. The plot, such as it is, is fairly simple: after his younger brother is hit by a drunk driver, the narrator writes a series of cover letters--to jobs that he had no chance in hell of landing in the first place--almost all of which reveal him to be emotionally unstable.

This was written
...more
Matthew
Hands down one of my favourite books. It's made me laugh and cry, often at the same time.

At the centre of a series of disconnected cover letters (which contain mostly lies) is a tragic story. Each, when taken individually has a dark humour that is witty and clever, but reading them in order builds up a certain sadness that creeps up on you as the true motivation behind the author of the letters becomes ever more clear. It's a book with a lot of thought and messages, not all of which are on the s
...more
Kendra
Overqualified is a delightfully humorous and surprisingly heartbreaking collection of cover letters addressed to different organizations. Wait... Did you say cover letters? Yes, that's correct. From corporations to cable channels, non-profits to universities, Comeau's letters to potential employers delight us with irreverence and then stab us unexpectedly with some brief, poignant phrase. These letters are so much more than a jab at a silly professional custom, together they weave a delicate and ...more
Ian Mathers
My housemate left her copy of this on the coffee table and I read it while waiting for my Chinese food to show up one night, which tells you how quick a read it is; but I was riveted enough that if they delivery had been five minutes earlier I might not have answered the door. Like a lot of people I know Comeau's work from A Softer World, and I'd always meant to get around to reading Overqualified after seeing some bits of it on the site years ago. The whole thing - funny, pointed, sad, moving - ...more
Erica Smith
Overqualified is a collection of job letters Joey Comeau has written and they are silly, sad, bitter and even though each job application letter is letter, you get the feeling that amongst all the jumbled stories within each letter there is a thread of continuity- a major theme hidden in there and it is more terrifying than the fact that Joey is indeed overqualified.

Overqualified simply means having more experience or knowledge than necessary so when Joey writes to Paramount,

“I’ve thought about
...more
Hakim
Overqualified is a surprisingly funny, witty and touching collection of job application cover letters written by Joey Comeau himself to various corporations and companies. The letters take unexpected turns when the author starts sharing life experiences and all sorts of childhood and teenage memories.
The sheer originality of this book is a pure delight. Don't let the format put you off, for Joey Comeau makes the reading of cover letters a pure blast!
Colin
I love this sort of thing- writing in a normal way that seamlessly segues into an intensely ridiculous or personal story, fictional or not, designed to make the reader go "what". It's really the only way I can personally write.

That being said, I wasn't a big fan of Comeau's usage of the word "retarded" in a couple of the passages, but that aside I found this very enjoyable.
Everthere
Overqualified is a short novel of cover letters. It features both funny and poignant moments with clever observations about human relations. Overall it is perhaps a bit too much of a gimmick to stick. A tasty snack rather than a hearty meal but those can be delicious and a real pick-me-up too - and this is what this charming little book is.
Erin
This was a very fun, very different read. It was also super short (~100 pages?) which made it nice to read quickly. The book is made up of cover letters from the author Joey Comeau applying to every job under the sun. But the cover letters are a twist on traditional cover letters, in that he uses them to illustrate a part of his life and sort of tie it to the company. For example, in applying to General Electric, he describes a memory of him and his brother running up a stairwell at their apartm ...more
Melina Martin
I bought this book because for once, I had a little money, and because, for years, I've loved asofterworld. I wanted to support Joey Comeau and the internet.

I'm glad I bought "Overqualified". It clicked with me in all sorts of ways, even at the beginning, when I thought I might hate it.

But I loved it.
Barb
This was one of the best books I have ever read. Joey Comeau represents a new style of writing that draws readers in and holds their interest. His writing is certainly unusual. All I can say is that I don't think there is anyone out there who wouldn't be affected in some way by his work.
Kevin Fanning
Right up my alley of course, since job hunting and cover letters are near and dear. I might have tinkered with the sequencing a bit in places, but either way very enjoyable. Also I like that it's called Overqualified and not Underqualified. Amen to that. Life, you know?
Wendy Lu
a quick read, and very-funny layered over very-sad.

its been briskly cold and dreamily grey all day, and after classes, i got an hour and a half of studying done before the huge, yawning gap of an afternoon and evening in which i had no definite plans got to me and it sounded so very lovely and the weather is so very lovely, so all i've been doing since then is walking around with my fingertips all cold and reading in the library and reading in bed and helping a friend do laundry and listening t
...more
Kim
Jul 07, 2014 Kim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who has had to write a cover letter for work or school applications
THREE STARS

First off, it is just a book of cover letters to companies. Come into it expecting something more and you may be disappointed.

Very hit and miss. Some hilarious letters where I laughed until tears. Others were quite dull listings of (real or fictional) events of the author's (supposed?) life, with no relation whatsoever to the company it was sent to. The most amusing letters, on the other hand, were able to bend the strange tangent around to being connected.

My advice - read it, but ski
...more
Adam


Original and surprisingly poignant, this thin book packs a punch that most other novels only dream of.
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Joey Comeau is a Canadian writer. He is best known for his novels Lockpick Pornography and Overqualified, and as co-creator of the webcomic A Softer World (with Emily Horne).

Comeau currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. He has a degree in linguistics. His fourth book, a novel based on Overqualified, was published in 2009.
More about Joey Comeau...
One Bloody Thing After Another Lockpick Pornography The Girl Who Couldn't Come Bravest Warriors Vol. 1 A Softer World: Truth and Beauty Bombs

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“Dear Nintendo, We need a new Mario game, where you rescue the princess in the first ten minutes, and for the rest of the game you try and push down that sick feeling in your stomach that she’s ‘damaged goods’, a concept detailed again and again in the profoundly sex negative instruction booklet, and when Luigi makes a crack about her and Bowser, you break his nose and immediately regret it. When Peach asks you, in the quiet of her mushroom castle bedroom ‘do you still love me?’ you pretend to be asleep. You press the A button rhythmically, to control your breath, keep it even.” 53 likes
“We'll wake up every day and we'll tell ourselves, "Live for today, you retarded little shit. The end is near.” 16 likes
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