Sunday, March 22, 2009
"The Cubicle Next Door" by Siri Mitchell
publisher: Harvest House
Jackie works for the US Air Force. She has been there for ten years, is extremely proficient and has her own office.
But, not for long.
The powers-that-be squeeze a divider between Jackie and a new pilot/history teacher named Joe and office space becomes a little more crammed.
Even more so because Joe immediately likes Jackie and spends the rest of their working relationship pulling her out of her comfort zone (vis-a-vis a cubicle) and on to the rest of her life.
The metaphor of the cubicle closing someone in to a space: trapped and somewhat ignored is a prevalent one in Mitchell's breezy chicklit.
Jackie narrates that story with precision and a fresh sarcasm/realism that few first person narratives can pull off.
Joe is an engaging, funny and downright adorable pilot ( with dimples *cough*) who endears us (and Jackie) by seeing more in her than she ever does in herself.
While this is a strong contender in the realm of Christian chicklit, I cannot help but think that Mitchell was somehow reigning in what could have been an even more daring and delectable novel.
This could be because her most recent foray into the genre, A Constant Heart is more than one of the best of its kind.
The Cubicle Next Door refers to an eponymous blog wherein Jackie informs a wide readership of her confused and mixed feelings toward Joe. She also shares some kernels of wisdom and a delightful vulnerability.
This being said, the blog itself is the weakest part of the novel. For a writer like Mitchell, crafty blogs should be a cinch but I could not figure out why this blog enticed upward of 20 000 hits a day. Moreover, why it would be the subject of a television news segment ....the very one that lures Joe into reading it daily----unaware of its author.
The premise is catchy and the characters well-drawn ( I love Oliver: Grandmother's British love interest and the ladies Joe helps switch from Bridge to Poker).
This is a light and page-turning read that I devoured in a sitting. Joe IS wonderful and the tenacity and patience in his pursuit of Jackie will restore a reader's faith in romance.
I particularly enjoyed the setting of Colorado Springs and area as that is a familiar territory for me because one of my closest friends lives there. It made me feel inadvertently at home.
I would definitely consider reading A Constant Heart if you can choose but one Mitchell title. However, you cannot go wrong with this slightly lesser fare. Mitchell has a knack for words and stories that translates well into any genre.
More Mitchell? I recommend here highly.... see here