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Office Girl by Joe Meno

Office Girl (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Joe Meno, Cody Hudson (Illustrator), Todd Baxter (Photographer)

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1361888,280 (3.5)4
Title:Office Girl
Authors:Joe Meno (Author)
Other authors:Cody Hudson (Illustrator), Todd Baxter (Photographer)
Info:Akashic Books (2012), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library, JFB read
Tags:art, art school, artists, Chicago, Generation X, grafitti, hipsters, Illinois, LT Early Reviewer, performance art, ~EDT~, ~EDN~

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Office Girl by Joe Meno (Author) (2012)


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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Didn't finish it.
  Icepacklady | Jun 3, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I did not finish this book. I read about 100 pages, and then I kind of skimmed through the rest. I found it unbearably pretentious. In retrospect, I'm not sure why I thought that a book about 20-something art students would be anything else. The protagonists, Jack and Odile, meet while working at a crappy third-shift office job, and then try to start their own art movement together, one that is supposed to be a sort of anti-movement. I didn't find any of their ideas to be particularly earth-shattering, or really all that different from the other art that they sneered and scoffed at. I do wonder if perhaps that was the point? Even so, it didn't make the characters any less insufferable. Also, I don't know how I'm supposed to sympathize with a character who kicks his wife's cat as they are breaking up, and then tells her she's made him into this kind of person by leaving him. Ugh.
  BookNrrrd | Jul 1, 2014 |
I have the most difficulty writing reviews for books that fall between "just okay" and "ho hum".

Office Girl is a short novel about a romance that came and went. Most of the stuff in the middle is about Jack and Odile falling for each other while Odile subsequently tries “sticking it to the man” with her art projects. Maybe this is amusing if you’re a fan of guerrilla art, but it left me feeling indifferent. For me, most of the book falls into the realm of mediocrity, though I did find the ending to be redeeming. I don’t mean that in a snarky sense either. I really do mean the ending was perfect. It doesn’t suffer from a case of the rom-coms, where everything is pieced together and wrapped up in a pleasant little bow. It seemed realistic, and despite its bittersweet-ness, it left me feeling positive and fulfilled.

I figured Office Girl was one of those books that has to be read by a certain age so it can resonate with the reader. Kind of like Catcher in the Rye, maybe. And considering I am around the same age as the characters in the book, I figured Office Girl would be the same kind of mind-blowing amazing that was Meno’s Hairstyles of the Damned back when I was in high school. Office Girl wasn’t though. Mostly I just found the characters to be kind of annoying and whiny and too angsty to be 24 years old. Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh on Jack. He was actually a pretty interesting character, but Odile was too much of a hipster for me to appreciate. She caused me to suffer eye strain as a result of massive eye rolls.

I’m not saying I hated Office Girl. I’m not even saying I disliked the book. I just didn’t think it was as good as some of Meno’s works that I was introduced to prior. Had I not approached Office Girl with expectations, I may have enjoyed it more. Maybe not. ( )
  books_n_tea | Apr 1, 2014 |
I really like Joe Meno's writing style and his ability to capture the small details of dialogues and meaningful moments of relationships. If you like this book, you'll like his other novels too. ( )
  Alyssa.Jocson | Aug 21, 2013 |
The few times I read the opening pages of the Hairstyles of the Damned in bookstores, I could never get into. It seemed to cutey, too determinedly hipster. The Great Perhaps I absolutely loved -- an ambitious storyline, with grown-up, fully developed characters. Office Girl feels like a step back, to me. It's very vignette about two quirky twentysomethings working low-level office jobs while they pursue their artists -- the girl's being to start a new art movement that defies all conventions about what great art should be and which basically means do public acts of pransterism; the young man, a sound engineer, constantly records every type of noise he hears in their city of Chicago, as he hopes to create a simulation of the sounds of the city. After failed romances (and his case a failed marriage), they meet fall in love and make either short-term happy. Not much happens and the scope of the novel and the character development, perhaps intentionally, feels so small in scale. If the author comes back to his The Great Perhaps form in future novels, I'll come back, but if he sticks with this style, I'll take a pass. I know Hairstyles has become a cult favorite, but it's just not my cup of tea. ( )
  johnluiz | Aug 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Meno, JoeAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, ToddPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, CodyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Art does not tolerate Reason
Albert Camus

No human heart changes half as fast as a city's face.
Charles Beaudelaire

Our central idea is the construction of situations, that is to say, the concrete construction of momentary ambiences of life and their transformation into superior passional quality.
Guy Debord
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Anyway it's snowing.
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Odile is a lovely twenty-three-year-old art-school dropout, a minor vandal, and a hopeless dreamer. Jack is a twenty-five-year-old shirker who's most happy capturing the endless noises of the city on his out-of-date tape recorder. Together they decide to start their own art movement in defiance of a contemporary culture made dull by both the tedious and the obvious. Set in February 1999, just before the end of one world and the beginning of another, Office girl is the story of two people caught between the uncertainty of their futures and the all-too-brief moments of modern life.… (more)

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Akashic Books

An edition of this book was published by Akashic Books.

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