Office Girl Paperback – 2 Aug 2012
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"Office Girl is a love story on bicycles, capturing the beauty of individual moments and the magic hidden in everyday objects and people." Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief "A sweetheart of a novel, complete with a hazy ending." Kirkus Reviews "An off-kilter romance doubles as an art movement in Joe Meno's novel. Meno impressively captures post-adolescent female angst and insecurity. Fresh and funny, the images also encapsulate the mortification, confusion and excitement that define so many 20-something existences." The New York Times Book Review "Wonderful storytelling panache ... Meno excels at capturing the way that budding love can make two people feel brave and freshly alive to their surroundings." The Wall Street Journal "It feels as if Meno has written the book he's been wanting to write for years, combining all of those classic elements of his previous work: the stop-and-start of youthful inertia, the painful purity of romance, the way childhood informs us as adults and a direct prose cut into vignettes and montage." Time Out Chicago "It might be a standard boy-meets-girl tale, if not for the fact that the boy likes to record the sounds of gloves abandoned in snowdrifts, while the girl has a penchant for filling elevators with silver balloons." Time Out New York "Meno has constructed a snowflake-delicate inquiry into alienation and longing ... this wistful, provocative, off-kilter love story affirms the bonds forged by art and story." --Booklist
About the Author
Joe Meno is a novelist and playwright. A winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize and a Great Lakes Book Award, he is the author of five novels including The Great Perhaps and Hairstyles of the Damned. He was a contributing editor to Punk Planet, the seminal underground arts and politics magazine. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Magazine and McSweeney's.
Top customer reviews
Odile has a notebook full of ideas such as 'dress up as a ghost on a public bus' and Jack has an apartment full of boxes of tapes of things he's recorded, such as the sound of snow or a balloon floating away. Together they start a quiet art revolution and tentatively fall in love. It's illustrated with photographs and little doodles reflecting the story.
I was torn between giving it three and four stars because I did quite like it, but at the same time felt it didn't match up to the things it reminded me of, such as Amelie, or Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (which also has a pink cover - read it!), and I didn't feel quite inspired by their art revolution - none of the ideas filled me with the same joy or wonder as, say, Amelie and the gnome she posts around the world. But it is nicely written and both Jack and Odile are interestingly observed, if perhaps a little too self-consciously quirky. I think if you like stories of aimless twenty-somethings who ride bicycles, then you'd like it.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As a footnote, the girl's name is Odile, which she finds uncommon. I grew up in South Louisiana and that name was fairly common among the older French people. I still remember an "Aunt Odile".
Odile and Jack start an art revolution, which combines performance art (spontaneously breaking into a scene from a movie while on the subway), graffiti, and creating an imaginary persona, Alphonse F., to whom they attribute their "art." All the while, the two find themselves falling in love, experiencing all of the joy, comfort, insecurity, and doubts that young love brings, with the hopes and fears that come with opening yourself up to another person. And with love often comes self-discovery and the ability to make changes in your life, even if they may not be the right ones.
Joe Meno is at his best when he's capturing the angst, insecurity, and eccentricities of 20-somethings or even high school students, as he did in his terrific Hairstyles of the Damned. The book honestly feels like an aggregation of every quirky independent movie about a couple ever made. You can totally see this book as a movie, and in fact, I think these characters might even be more vivid on the screen than they were on the page. This was a tremendously quick read, light and enjoyable, with a hazy ending you may or may not like.