Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, the host of the 80+ episodes of Book Stew, a 30-minute video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, featuring authors, playwrights, voice artists, and journalists.
‘The Very Nice Box’ by Eve Gleichman & Laura Blackett
The dual-author story (how do they DO it?) set in Brooklyn and at STADA, an Ikea-like company, is a glorious mashup of work comedy, romance, and satire, with a smidge of suspense, and it’s genius, like The Rosie Project + Then We Came To The End.
The narrator, Ava, has survived a major trauma and terrible losses by regimenting her routine and by clinging to her lead designer job for her un-dear life.
STADA’s founder, a woodworker by trade, is retiring and leaving the company in the hands of Mat, a Wharton double major and a most obnoxious young dudebro.
For some reason, though, the charming and handsome new boss seeks Ava out and they fall in love. As the heartbreaking tragedy that shapes Ava’s life is revealed, we see how her devotion to creating the company’s new hot seller, the aptly-named Very Nice Box (joining other J. Peterman/Ikea-like products as the Peaceful Headphones, the Husky Camping Chair, and the Cozy Nesting Tables) and her rigid routine is preventing her from regaining een a vestige of happiness.
Ava shares her angst with and asks advice from the company’s online chat therapist, SHRNK, who seems to know and understand her to a remarkable degree.
When Mat’s substantial flaws are revealed, Ava has to choose between his love and his quirks, such as his lying and devoting to a cult-like men’s personal growth group.
This debut novel is completely joyous and compelling literary event.
Quote: “She had the warmth of disinfectant spray.”
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