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The Helpline

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  255 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Germaine Johnson may not be all that good with people but she’s great with numbers. Unfortunately, as she discovers after the incident at Wallace Insurance, there are very few openings these days for senior mathematicians.

Then her cousin gets her a job at the council. On the Senior Citizens Helpline.

It’s not the resume entry Germaine wanted—but it turns out Mayor Verity Ba
Paperback, 382 pages
Published September 2018 by Text Publishing
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Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5000-books
I am so divided over this one. It’s another book about someone with some kind of condition, maybe Aspergers Syndrome.
On the good side it is very humorous. Germaine understands herself to a degree and her comments can be wonderfully astute. Many of the situations she finds herself in are entertaining without being uncomfortable.
On the bad side some of the situations she finds herself in made me cringe. Events came very close to making people laugh at her, not with her. I wanted to take her home a
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
It is with delight that I introduce you to Katherine Collette, a fresh new voice in Australian contemporary fiction. The Helpline is Katherine Collette’s amusing, offbeat and dynamic debut novel, featuring a larger than life lead, Germaine Johnson. The Helpline is a comical and lively rendition to a mathematician who finds herself cast as an unlikely heroine, in a bid to save a local senior citizens centre. The results are both hilarious and endearing.

Meet G
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Helpline is the first novel by Australian author, Katherine Collette. After four months of unemployment (it’s proving a challenge to keep busy all day), Germaine Johnson is somewhat relieved to take the job that her cousin Kimberley lined up with the Deepdene City Council. While, as a senior mathematician, she considers her position on the Senior Citizens Helpline as well below her qualifications, she’s already collecting data with a view to minimising inefficiencies and streamlining the pro ...more
Dale Harcombe
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gr-giveaways
When Germaine Johnson loses her job as a mathematician, she ends up finding work on the council’s Senior Citizen Helpline. It’s not what she wants but she tries to make the best of it. The trouble is while Germaine is good with Sudoku and numbers. She is not so good with people. Still, she tries her best and comes up with ideas which will, in her view, improve the site and make it more efficient. Her ideas cause a bit of trouble but also draw the attention of the Mayor Verity Bainbridge. The may ...more
Text Publishing
‘Delightful feelgood fun.’
Toni Jordan

‘Wonderfully quirky.’
Good Reading

‘Many readers today are searching for light but clever comic writing with a bit of a punch; they will happily find it in Katherine Collette’s debut.’
Books + Publishing

‘An endearing story about power, ambition, greed and friendship.’
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book reviews on

I didn't know what to expect from this but it's quickly rocketed high up on my list of 2018 reads. It's a fun mix of humour, emotion and great characters.

I know everyone is probably going to be comparing it to Eleanor Oliphant, but this really struck me as a book with many similarities - and Eleanor Oliphant was one of my favourite books of last year! I'd say this is a much lighter read, though.

The main character, Germaine, is what many would class as an 'odd'
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, I could not put it down! Great characters, so easy to read, loved the storyline, particularly the perspective it was taken from. It really made me think about how everyday situations and conversations can be interpreted so differently by different personalities - and you couldn’t fault Germaine’s logic, it made perfect sense to her - just not to everyone else. Fabulous book.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
A warm fuzzy read with a quirky main character and a bunch of feisty senior citizens.
Amber Myott
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately I think The Helpline is a cheap copy of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. The characters had little depth and even though it was meant to be humourous , I found the humour trite.
However this book did receive some very positive reviews .....
Anna Baillie-Karas
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This was ok, but it’s not for me.

I like the premise of a quirky woman protagonist, socially awkward, who goes to work at a senior citizens’ helpline. There is comic potential both in the local Council work environment (full of mediocrity) and the elderly callers she has to engage with.

Lots of prickly women characters whose company I didn’t like but makes a refreshing change from many other books.

The execution didn’t work for me - mainly because I didn’t like Germaine and we were too much in h
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The Helpline is an Australian contribution to the ever-growing ‘up-lit’ movement – stories with minimal darkness and a guaranteed heartwarming resolution (think The Lido, for example). These are books to pick up when you’re stressed or seeking pure escapism – and they work.

In The Helpline, maths whiz Germaine is sacked from her job in insurance, and gets a gig on the senior citizens’ phone line with her local council. But much more is going on in her office than she bargained for.

Germaine has so
Leanne Anderson
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How good is this book! I loved it so much I read it in a day. It did take a few pages to warm up to the main character Germaine but once I had it was hooked and found it really hard to put down.

This is exactly the clever, amusing yet feel good type of read I wish there was more of. My hat off to you Katherine Collette- especially considering you are debut novelist!
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and fun in an Eleanor Oliphant sort of way.
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of this book thanks to Text Publishing. It is about Germaine who has lost her job and is having trouble finding another. She ends up getting a job on the local council's helpline. The helpline mainly assist mainly older citizens with their problems. Germaine has trouble showing empathy with the callers on the helpine.
Germaine tries to find ways to improve the way the helpline works to try to impress the mayor. She eventually receives a promotion. During her "special project" work fo
Halina Connelly
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I absolutely adored this book. In the same vein as The Rosie Project and Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, the main protagonist, Germaine, is a highly intelligent individual who meets the criteria for the Autism spectrum. The more books that celebrate these beautifully quirky and delightful characters, the more accepting and tolerant our neurotypical society will become
Kerrie Paterson
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can't say I really liked the main character but I was definitely empathetic to her with her social awkwardness. The story felt a little too quirky for me with not a lot of depth, but a feel-good story that was nonetheless enjoyable.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
The back-cover blurb was fantastic – which only made the experience of reading this cynical rip-off all the more disappointing. This is a blatant attempt to write an ‘Australian Eleanor Oliphant’ (without the charm), starring a female incarnation of Graeme Simsion’s Don Tillman, with a trace of Toni Jordan’s Addition (without the wit). I cannot believe Text would publish such a derivative book, let alone one that cannibalises its own authors.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a charming read. Very enjoyable and would recommend it if you are looking for a summer read!
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Helpline is very clever writing. Enjoyable to read and humorous, but not laugh aloud. Instead you will be chuckling and shaking your head at the quirky characters, in particular Germaine. Germaine is a mathematician who loses her job and sees life problems through pie charts and graphs. As Germaine has bills to pay, she goes to work on the local council's Senior Citizens Helpline.

Through her new job, Germaine interacts with the Mayor Verity Bainbridge, Don the Suduko champion as well as the
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uplit
WIN! A copy of The Helpline by Katherine Collette. Giveaway for Aussie readers - closes 30th November 2018. This is one of my top pics of the year. It's like a cross between The Office and The Rosie Project. Enter now:

I haven’t loved a book this way since The Rosie Project. I’ve been having a rough trot physically lately and I took this book with me to the park and just lay in the sunshine reading and laughing. Thank you Katherine Collette - you made me fo
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.25 Stars. Firstly I just want to address comparisons to other recent bestsellers, so that readers do not go into this novel with the wrong expectations. The Helpline is far lighter than Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and its protagonist is less likeable than Graeme Simsion’s Don Tillman. That said, the great buzz about this book is warranted. Collette’s lead character Germaine Johnson is socially inept (very bad at reading people) and so her routinely awkward interacti ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-work
What a kooky, delightful novel. Definitely the perfect next read for fans of Eleanor Oliphant, but with a heart all its own
Taylor Noel
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fun, charming, and feel-good novel! Perfect for anyone who loved The Rosie Project or Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
Amy Jasper
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since I've read a book in less than 48 hrs. The Helpline is beautifully written. It would be so easy to overwrite Germaine, but Katherine Collette tells us only as much as we absolutely have to know, and it is all the more powerful as the reader slowly peels back the layers. Can't wait for her next one.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The Helpline” is a really fun novel; I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the pleasures of the novel is the protagonist, Germaine Johnson. No doubt some readers will try to diagnose her with some sort of condition – I preferred to read her as simply blisteringly honest, saying things that others would like to, but choke down for the sake of politeness or social conventions. There’s no doubt, though, that Germaine is rather socially awkward, and combined with her honesty, this provides a lot of humor ...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
In the vein of Eleanor Oliphant or The Rosie Project, this is a quirky comedy about a social misfit. Germaine Johnson is comfortable with numbers, not so much with people. However the only job she can find is answering the Senior Citizens helpline at the local council. The mayor then assigns her to liase with the Senior Citizen Centre, who are clashing with the local golf course over parking issues. Germaine is delighted to be singled out for greater things, but the mayor has an ulterior motive ...more
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of this book thanks to the publishers in return for an honest review.
The Helpline tells the story of Germaine, recently fired from her job at an insurance agency, and about to begin her new job as a phone operator for her local council’s elderly helpline service.
Germaine is a mathematical nerd, sudoku enthusiast and socially awkward (autistic?) and struggles to comprehend the intent of the Helpline while trying to be noticed by shady mayor Verity Bainbridge, hopeful of a promotion
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quirky, smart, funny, inventive, silly, and intelligent. This is an Australian funnier and lighter version of Eleanor Oliphant.

Germaine loves sudoko, probability, and has zero people skills. Luckily for Germaine she is surrounded by a loving but impatient mother, a sweet neighbor, an equally intelligent young bos who gets her and needs her, and a cranky senior woman who matches will with Germaine. Germaine loses her job at the insurance agency but her cousin gets her a job at City Hall answerin
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars Thank you to Text Publishing for my copy of the Helpline. A mathematician, a council office, sudoku and a senior citizen centre probably do not sound like the ingredients for an amusing upbeat novel but that’s what Katherine Collette has created.

Her characters are a quirky bunch of misfits that really grow on you. While I don’t think you have to take this novel too seriously it does seek to remind us that we should appreciate the differences in others. We discover the best and worst
It's strange: I seem to have read quite a few novels lately about people who are unaware of their effect on others, or living lives of intentional self-deception. And it's always women.
Germaine Johnson is a 30-something singleton, forced into accepting a job on the local Council's senior citizens helpline. Somewhat of a maths prodigy, she believes the telephone helpline to be not worth her merit. Soon though, Germaine is under the spell of the Mayor and is privy to her objections to the Senior C
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Katherine Collette is a writer and environmental engineer. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two children.

'The Helpline' is her first novel.
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