- Leslie Stella -
I believe this was one of many books I obtained at an auction/barn sale. Fill a box with books for $5 allows you to grab books you'd never buy at a bookshop (even a used bookshop). This one has a laughable cover which, for some odd reason, appealed to me. A quick glance at the back cover description sold me. The five second skim told me this book was a humorous look at life in the office. Well, I work in an office, I enjoyed the few episodes of The Office I have watched, and the movie Office Space makes me crack up.
I will say this book was an easy read, as in not a whole lot of substance. Which, can sometimes be a good thing; when you're tired and don't want to get into something complicated for instance. This is not a book that will keep you up until the wee hours of the morning. That said, there were a few parts I did find very funny. The beginning was kind of reminiscent of the Shopoholic series (Kinsella). There were a few common laughs; mostly the over dramatic letters conversations, and the wacky obsession with fashion. I was hoping for more office politic jokes though. There were a few doozies in the beginning of the book, but, they soon fizzled out. I also had a problem relating to the main character - a self absorbed, elitist, fashion disaster, whiny, & erratic...which strangely, are qualities that could make a wonderful character. It just never panned out for me.
The main story line was plausible. A couple of disgruntled workers pull a 'wikileaks' and post some embarrassing pictures and expense reports showing how sleazy and corrupt the management and executives are. These two mavericks are successful in causing a lot of chaos, and a choice boss to get fired. But, they do not end up better people for it...sadly.
For all the cubicle citizens out there, this scenario sounds like a daydream, especially around evaluation/pay raise/bonus/the day you run out of vacation, but, again there was not a lot of substance in the story. It wasn't awful. It wasn't a bad read. It's not that is was unbelievable...there was just no build up, no big shocking climax. There were just a few chuckles here and there.
There were a few side stories, attempts to paint a picture of our protagonist and her common (yet, sadly depressing) life. Her thrift store treasures, her cramped apartment on the rough side of town, her dysfunctional relationships with her mother, roommate, boyfriend, pretty much everyone she comes into contact with. I did enjoy the stories of her upbringing. They consisted of short memories revolving around her hippie parents and how their parenting choices made her the whining, disgruntled person she is. What I found hilarious was the many 'crazy' things her parents did were things I agree with and do in my own life. The 'weird' food her mother made her eat - organic leafy things. No processed hotdogs for her. The homemade toys, the dolls without faces. No Dora or Disney either. This was the only part of the book that made me think; am I creating a monster like this disgruntled employee? Maybe, I should save this book and reread it in 20 years and compare...I have a feeling I'll be ok.
My rating: Do Not Read*
*Unless you get this book in a $5 fill a box (a big box at that) AND you are a disgruntled employee who constantly dreams of overthrowing your current cubicle world...then again, you might be better off spending the three hours it would take you to read the book daydreaming about your own cubicle revenge.
Book Club Questions:
1) What is your ultimate office daydream?
2) Is the main character believable? Who has that many temper tantrums past the age of 2?
3) What is up with the mustache obsession?
If you have any additional bookclub questions feel free to comment and I may add them.