The long hours bent over the flap sander have afforded me the opportunity to listen to books on CD (transferred to pod) one after the other.
Today, I finished Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. I had a hard time getting into this one. Actually, I started it, got irritated, stopped, listened to another whole book, and only came back to this one because I didnít have anything else to listen to.
The book was read by the author. Authors in this circumstance. There are always ups and downs to this. It immediately sounds different to me. Something about the author not being a professional actor maybe. But not necessarily that because even Steve Martinís performance seemed different when I listened to Shopgirl. Itís an intimacy with the work that adds depth and a unique flavor to the reading, while also allowing a candidness that only the author could inflect. This candidness sometimes leaves a dry aftertaste.
There seemed to be a bit too much treble at times in the authorsí repartee. Maybe this is what grated on my nerves in the beginning. But also, it was the universal and almost too witty approach to the story. Universal as in, the authors go out of their way to NOT make the story too mired in reality. Itís the IDEA that matters here, not the details. For instance, the protagonistís name is Girl, her bossí name is Guy, the boyfriend is Buster and the place she works is My Company. Almost too witty as in, sometimes I felt they were trying to hard. But we all fall into that trap. I guess I just had to get used to the style of writing.
I think the overall question the authors propose is how much would you bastardize your beliefs for employment, i.e. a roof over your head and a feeling of self-worth. How far would you pollute yourself before societyís version of okay is simply not okay anymore?
Here, Girl begins her saga working for a boss so annoying that you might turn off the CD. Girl eagerly took this job as a college graduate pursuing feminist philanthropic work. After abusing her employee in a Devil-Wearís-Prada-Miranda-Priestly-reminiscent way and stealing her work, psycho-boss fires Girl. Girl then recedes into a doom and gloom pit, falling further with each rejection letter. Stepping into the black-light at a weird 20-somethingís recruitment fair is Guy, whose glowing teeth become the light at the end of the tunnel.
But Guy is glib. “Fast-talking, flap jaw, flip, fluent, garrulous, hot-air, insincere, loquaciousĒ. Girl barely gets Guy to make her official, i.e. payroll, before being kicked out of her used-to-be-a-closet-about-to-become-one-again apartment, enabling her to rent another she would never before been able to afford. Despite the fancy salary, Girl finds herself in a very vague situation Ė not quite sure what her responsibilities are, who she is reporting to, basically, what the hell she is doing.
And of course, all the veiled answers slowly entangle her in a situation wildly out of her control, threatening every value she holds dear.
In all, I often found the book aggravating. But somehow I was still entertained. Itís probably just not my style. But I did appreciate the subject and the universal-style attempt.