Thursday, January 10, 2013

Office Girl - Joe Meno

Office Girl
Joe Meno

Odile and Jack have a lot in common. They're both "artists", work nights selling office music and are completely hopeless in relationships.When Odile asks Jack to join her new art movement their lives change forever. Or at least for February of 1999. Office Girl is the story of art, love and screwing up in a snow covered Chicago.

After reading The Great Perhaps last year I wanted to try another Meno novel. While Office Girl is a completely different beast his treatment of his home city of Chicago is perfect. It is clearly a place he loves, decaying buildings, poor drivers and all.  The city really comes to life in a way that made Meno's favorite setting my favorite part of the novel.

As an underemployed art school graduate who use to live (and go to said art school) in Chicago I am the definite target audience for this novel. However, hitting close to home couldn't really help the half dead story. Odile is a stereotypic art school drop out; sleeping with married men, unreliable on the job and mercilessly critical of every other artist she meets. On the other end Jack (who is also an art school graduate) is his own personal lend of obsessively crazy.  While I enjoyed their bike trips around the city, and the idea's behind some of their "Art Terrorism" I just couldn't see them as more than caricatures. In the end Jack's audio project (read: obsession) and Odile's edgy attitude weren't enough to get me to make a lasting impression.

Overall I wasn't a fan of Office Girl. It had it's moments, and the art scattered throughout the pages was enjoyable. The lack of realistic characters in a hyper real setting really made it hard for me to care about anything that either Odile or Jack were going through, and the actual story was pretty dry.

If pressed i'd give it a dreaded 3 stars.

No comments: