Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Cubicle Next Door

Your nice office has been divided into two cubicles since the Air Force Academy hired one too many instructors. You're now sharing space with a charming ex-pilot who expects you to be his new best friend. Not only will he not take no for an answer, he doesn't even ask! Even your grandmother is rooting for him. What's a geekish girl to do? Vent online, of course.

Jackie Harrison created her anonymous blog, The Cubicle Next Door, to share about office life and the environmental issues she cares about. And it's the only place where she can freely share her feelings about the guy on the other side of the partition wall, Joe, who she dubs "John Smith." As those feelings become more confused, a news station runs a segment on blogging and features The Cubicle Next Door. Now everyone is reading her blog, including Joe.

The Cubicle Next Door had jumped onto my favorite novels list by the time I'd finished the first chapter. Siri Mitchell has crafted an immensely humorous and heartwarming tale. The novel is chock-full of funny and memorable scenes - Jackie's grandmother and her friends switching from bridge to poker, the Emma Crawford coffin race, skiing lessons.

The beginning was so wonderful, I wondered how the end would meet my expectations, but it did. And threw in a few twists along the way. Jackie's blog posts are included, complete with comments. A novel about a blogger - how can you get better than that? Here's a bit from chapter one to whet your appetite:

“So what do you think, Jackie?”

What do I think? Funny Joe should ask me that. He's just finished reading my blog. He's just quoted me to myself. Or is it myself to me? Do I sound surreal, as if I’m living in parallel universes?

I am!

The blog—my blog—is all about Joe. And other topics that make me want to scream. But the clever thing is, I'm anonymous. When I’m blogging.

I'm Jackie, Joe's cubicle-mate, when I'm not.

And that's the problem.

Joe is asking Jackie (me) what I think about the Mystery Blogger (also me). And since I don’t want Joe to know the blog is all about me and what I think of him, I can't tell him what I think about me.

My brain is starting to short circuit.

So if I can't tell him what I think about me, I certainly can't tell him what I think about him, so I'm going to have to pretend not to be me. Not me myself and not me The Cubicle Next Door Blogger—TCND to my fans.

I have fans!

If I were clever I'd say something like, “Look!” and point behind him and then duck out of the room when he turned around to look.

But there’s so much computer equipment stacked around my desk and so many cables snaking around the floor that I’d break my neck if I tried to run away. So that option is out.

I could try pretending I didn't hear him. “What?”

“SUVs. So what do you think about them?”

But then we'd basically end up back where we started.

So how did I get myself into this mess?

It was all Joe's fault.

I'm giving away a copy of The Cubicle Next Door as part of the promotion for my upcoming review newsletter, Waterfall Books. Go here for info on how you can win it, as well as other great books!


Elaina M. Avalos said...

This sounds like a fun book! I'm going to have to pick it up.

Siri said...

Thanks again, Katie, for your kind words!
Many blessings, Siri

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