Monday, November 7, 2011

Personal Days/Ed Park/241 pp.

I enjoyed parts of this book, but there was a MAJOR issue I had with it. The book is divided into three parts: the first part reads like a regular story, written in 1st person plural - we did this, we saw that, etc.; the second part is written entirely in outline form - I.A.ii.b., etc. - a little annoying, but still fairly easy to follow; but the third part is written as one long, stream-of-consciousness run-on sentence. The premise (to the third part)is that a character is sending an email to another person; he's trapped in an elevator, the screen on his laptop has gone dark, and his period (full-stop) and return buttons don't work, so he's just writing everything as it comes to him, without going back and changing things. Plus he likes to go off on tangents unrelated to the action in the story. This is the kind of thing that, if it had happened toward the beginning of the novel, would have caused me to throw the book over my shoulder (figuratively, librarians! calm down!) and go read something else. But because I was already involved in the whole story, I wanted to find out what happened to everyone, so I had to struggle through to the end. As the character went off on each of his tangents, I kept thinking, "Wait! Where are you going? Come back here and tell me what happened to these guys!"
There were good parts to the story; puns and office romances and office nicknames like "Grime" and "Crease", and management doublespeak lie "There's no I in team", and other funny bits. Parts of the story reminded me of good episodes of "The Office". But the totally unnecessary changes in writing style completely threw me off, and by the end of the book I was just glad it was over.

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