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
--This text refers to the
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