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Overqualified (Overqualified #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,217 Ratings  ·  145 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 book w
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by ECW Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour, modern-lit
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
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
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian

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
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-english
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
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book took me less than three hours to read.

I came for the gimmick of the style of the book (delivered in cover letters), and stayed for the humor and sentiment. The main 'arc' of the story is about loss and not knowing how to deal with it, with how that loss changes you for better or worse. The ending, where he is trying to resolve another different type of loss, seems to be how the protagonist is dealing with his grief.

I wonder how much of this story is autobiographical.

Yes, I am being
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
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!
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Anndra Dunn
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book in May 2014, on a lazy afternoon at a friend's house - it was their book and I just borrowed it to read. It took me about an hour and I loved it; last night I read it for the second time in bed and again it took me about an hour and again I loved it.

Overqualified is a book in which Joey Comeau writes cover letters for job applications to various companies. The entire book is nothing but cover letters, but they tell a story (fictionalised, as far as I know) - Comeau's broth
Mina Villalobos
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Hannah Wales
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Hannah by: Andy
I read this book in less than an hour, but dang. I have never read anything quite like this before. In summary, it is a series of cover letters that the author writes to different companies, seeking a job. However, the author predominantly talks about his own life as opposed to pleading for a job and elevating his character. By the seventh letter - a mere 19 pages in - I was in tears. There is nothing censored in this book; the author exposes his feelings in the rawest way which, in turn hits ev ...more
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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!
Melina Martin
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
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?
Oct 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Tragically read this book in a sitting and found myself crying out for more.
Peter Darbyshire
Fuck yeah! If I had a company, I'd hire Joey just to write the company memos.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books

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.
More about Joey Comeau...

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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.” 56 likes
“Memories are like everything else. They're a trap.” 17 likes
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