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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161775076X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617750762
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review


“The writing in this novel is crisp and clever. It’s art that’s at times beautiful without getting in the way of the story. Chicago becomes a character in the novel the way it does in the works of Nelson Algren and Saul Bellow, but it’s Chicago that is between Algren’s gritty streets and Bellow’s upscale avenues . . . It’s the kind of book that makes you blow off what you’re supposed to be doing so you can keep reading.”
--Razorcake

“Young love. Bicycles. Art school. Joe Meno’s hipster romance about a couple going against the grain bubbles with funny dialogue and the charm of a French new wave movie (chalk it up to the whole defiant-youth-run-wild thing). Black-and-white illustrations by artist Cody Hudson and photos by up-and-comer Todd Baxter set the mood.”
--DailyCandy

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

If I could have given half stars this would be a 3.5.
EasyReader
I liked the idea that life is really about the small moments we experience or create, but was totally annoyed by the characters.
kcuccia
As an avid book reader, I was interested to read this book.
Ursula

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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7 of 8 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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By scorcho on August 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have you ever fallen in love with a character in a book? This book has done that to me .
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By Marlene Little on May 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I did not enjoy this book. The book contained only empty words. I thought the characters were mentally challenged. Was unable to find any value as to what message the author wanted to impart.
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By Amazon Customer on April 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very good novel. To my knowledge, Office Girl hasn't received the recognition it should. The book has the spark, flair and the punch of The Catcher in the Rye. Having said that, I realize I've just raised the bar high on the scale. The characters have the everyday flaws that seem hardwired into all of us. These flaws intrude into our lives and influence choices that could lead to success or failure.
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By Happy Shopper on January 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this book from the very first page. Quirky, interesting characters who move through an interesting plot line and
kept me engaged.
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