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Office Girl Kindle Edition

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Length: 299 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2012: Light but not fluffy, spare but not small, this novel from the Chicago-based playwright and novelist is a love letter to youth, art, and, well, love. It is 1999, and 23-year-old Odile (think the actress from Amélie or The Entertainer, except she’s American; ever self-aware, Meno concludes the book with a note expecting a movie version) and Jack, a 25-year-old semi-slacker, meet through their excruciatingly dull cubicle jobs and decide to start their own unboring art movement. Along the way, they talk, ride bicycles, and do graffiti. But the plot here is not the thing. Meno’s style is charmingly simple: He writes in short chapters mercifully light on irony and peppered with black-and-white illustrations and photographs that stop just this side of cute, raising this tale of frustrated Gen-Xers way above the clichéd boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl story of any era. --Sara Nelson

Review

Earphones Award Winner. ""[Julia] Whelan's impeccable timing, pacing, and command of the different characters make for a beguiling listening experience. Whelan emphasizes the ordinary and unique qualities of the characters and accentuates the freshness of this quixotic and unconventional story."" - AudioFile Magazine
Starred Review. ""Meno has constructed a snow-flake delicate inquiry into alienation and longing. Illustrated with drawings and photographs and shaped by tender empathy, buoyant imagination, and bittersweet wit, this wistful, provocative, off-kilter love story affirms the bonds forged by art and story."" - Booklist
""High on quirk and hipster cred, the novel is light as air, surprisingly unpretentious, and extremely kind to its larky, irony-addled protagonists...endearing."" - Publishers Weekly, ""Pick of the Week""
A Best Fiction Book of 2012. ""...a gorgeous little indie romance, circa 1999... But when things Get Weird as things do when we're young, Meno is refreshingly honest in portraying the lowest lows and not just the innocent highs. A sweetheart of a novel, complete with a hazy ending."" - Kirkus Reviews
""Along with PBRs, flannels, and thick-framed glasses, this Millennial Franny and Zooey is an instant hipster staple."" - Marie Claire
One of the ""Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2012 Book Preview"" titles. - The Millions
""...Meno has written the book he's been wanting to write for years, combining all of those classic elements of his previous work... Gorgeously packaged, it's like a Meno box set 15 years in the making."" - Time Out Chicago
""In this geeky-elegant novel, Meno transforms wintery Chicago into a wondrous crystallization of countless dreams and tragedies, while telling the stories of two derailed young artists, two wounded souls, in cinematic vignettes that range from lushly atmospheric visions to crack-shot volleys of poignant and funny dialogue."" - Kansas City Star
""Meno supplies an off-kilter, slightly inappropriate answer to the Hollywood rom-com. Meno is a deft writer. The dialogue in Office Girl is often funny, the pacing quirky, and some of its quick, affecting similes remind me of Lorrie Moore."" - Chicago Reader
""...an honest look at the isolation of being a creative person in your 20s living in a city."" - Daily Beast, ""3 Must-Read Offbeat Novels""
""Fresh and sharply observed, Office Girl is a love story on bicycles, capturing the beauty of individual moments and the magic hidden in everyday objects and people. Joe Meno will make you stop and notice the world. And he will make you wonder."" - Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

Product Details

  • File Size: 3599 KB
  • Print Length: 299 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1617750751
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (July 3, 2012)
  • Publication Date: July 3, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008AK1HEK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,557 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joe Meno is a fiction writer and playwright who lives in Chicago. He is the winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Great Lakes Book Award, and a finalist for the Story Prize. He is the author of six novels including the bestsellers Hairstyles of the Damned and The Boy Detective Fails, and two short story collections including Demons in the Spring. His non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times and Chicago Magazine.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Devin Kani on June 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fine book, one that also happens to be screaming to be a quirky, sparsely distributed indie film. Done right, that movie could have a cult following; if not, everyone would complain that the movie's not nearly as good as the book, and for good reason: it's tightly written, with few flourishes and no extraneous themes.

Office Girl is about Odile and Jack. Both are twenty-somethings who attended art school but were dead-ended in meaningless jobs; Odile is sleeping with a married man, while Jack's wife is leaving the country and their newly-minted marriage. When they meet during the Chicago blizzard of 1999, they have a lot in common, especially that they need each other. In the pages that follow, Meno's characters explore nostalgia, expression, and pop culture and discover strength they didn't previously know about. Even though you've probably met the essence of these characters before, Meno's character development makes this brief but satisfying read recommended for a summer reading list.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ThrillaYZ on December 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I feel like this is a book for hipster teeny boppers. I couldn't read past a few chapters.
I'm sure this will make a great gift for a young angsty teen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By kcuccia on January 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ehhh. After finishing this book yesterday I spent a while trying to figure out why I alternated between liking bits of it and being totally irritated by most of it. I liked the idea that life is really about the small moments we experience or create, but was totally annoyed by the characters. Neither Jack nor Odile was particularly likeable or original. They both seemed to act much too young for their age and neither seemed quite believable - they both felt too much like a sterotypical hipster. Their angst was pretty cliched. The writing was blah with a few good bits. The emphasis on color was interesting if you paid attention to it. The illustrations and photos were an interesting idea and sometimes quite entertaining, but it all seemed to be trying a little too hard to be clever. I enjoyed the little acts of art terrorism, but wasn't really moved by it, but rather admired the ideas from a distance. You never really get close to feeling anything real in this book - it's a pretty quick, superficial read
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Crowell on July 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this book is not for everyone, if you are looking for something inventive and fresh, it is well worth the read. Readers who enjoyed Visit from the Goon Squad, will enjoy this novel as well for the same quality of freshness among its characters. This novel is for those who admire creativity, taking chances, breaking the traditional novelistic structure, excellent characterization. and living metaphors and descriptions. This book is not for traditional literary readers but rather for the avant garde literary reader open to "taking chances." I enjoyed this book immensely and will not forget it soon. Yes, it is indie, yes it is calling out to be made into a film by the right film-maker, and yes, I will see it but not expect the film industry to capture the magic of the original. Great book to take to the beach, but also a good book to stoke creativity if you are also an artist or writer.
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Format: Paperback
It's February, 1999, and here we are, in snowy, freezing Chicago. Odile is 23. She's dropped out of art school and is aimless. She fears she's never done anything interesting. Jack is 25. He's an art school graduate, recently divorced, and is also aimless. The two meet at a menial second-shift office job.

That's the basic framework of Joe Meno's slim, sad new novel Office Girl. But Joe Meno's slim, sad new novel is awesome; it's one of my favorites of the year, in fact. It's a book that resonated with me -- it gave me that indescribable "good book chill" feeling when I finished. And I haven't been able to shake it.

The idea here is that Odile wants to start her own art movement, and recruits Jack to help her. Odile is against "everything popular. Anything that makes art into a commodity. Or people into commodities. Or anything that's supposed to be a commodity." So she wants to make art that is surprising, because "people in this city...nothing surprises them anymore. When you live here, there's just too much going on around you, so you don't see any of it. It's hard to get people's attention."

So, they do things like ride an elevator in a downtown building wearing ski masks and holding a giant bouquet of silver balloons. Or wearing sheets with eye holes (as ghosts) on a city bus. They just want to create art that's "a moment" -- that someone might remember. Jack is also working on an art project -- he records sound of anything he thinks is interesting or beautiful while riding his bike around the city -- a girl crying at a bus stop, or steam from a sewer, or total silence. It's similar to the guy from American Beauty, who records mundane things he finds beautiful. Jack's goal is to create a city of sounds -- and when he shows Odile, she absolutely loves it.
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By Heebiegb on September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My college professors often told me and my fellow communications majors how attractive we would be in the job market we were about to enter. Apparently, employers really didn't wish to hire potential employees who had swallowed a steady diet of courses from the business college but were looking for well-read, well-rounded liberal arts-types who could then be taught what was necessary to succeed in business. Sounded great to those of us who had spent our undergrad years learning how to speak publicly, argue scientifically, and theorize rhetorically. Good times were near.

When we matriculated and graduated, we found out the business world really didn't want that at all so we became bartenders and servers and proto-baristas, before that was a common word or job even, and learned we didn't have to give up our garage bands after all. Young, poor, over-educated and underemployed--that was us. Worse than that, our birth years placed us squarely in Generation X and we were dubbed 'slackers', a sobriquet that we embraced and rejected, simultaneously, while sporting flannel shirts in mosh pits and making Soundgarden successful. Ultimately we came around to the idea that without the safety net of college, we had paid too much for school to merely man the copiers at Kinko's. Quelle dommage! The characters in Joe Meno's new novel find themselves at similar loose ends.

Office Girl, (or Bohemians or Young People on Bicycles Doing Troubling Things) is set during the Chicago blizzard of 1999 and Meno uses this as a metaphor for a number of things: the hard slog toward adulthood, the cold, cruel world out there, the need to dig oneself out, to find oneself under the snow drifts and emerge as someone different.
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