Cubicles Anonymous is the cross between real life on the job and the infamous story of Office Space. Silas Whitaker seeks a job that will profit both himself and mankind. To others, he seems hypocritical in his overall thinking, but to himself, he makes perfect sense with his schemes. After the death of his mother, the model housewife, and school teacher, Silas believes her death is connected to a missile-making site located next to her former school. Being an accountant by trade, he sweet talks his way into a job there with the purpose of infiltrating the company and exposing any secrets they may be hiding that will secretly justify her death. Along the way, Silas gathers more than he bargained and must make some important decisions regarding people’s lives.
This all makes it sound deep and dark, but the overall theme is mostly light with Office-Space humor. The topic of refugees does come up, followed by some smooth thinking from Silas. If you’ve never worked, the interactions between co-workers will be difficult to understand, but for everyone else, even those who haven’t worked in cubicles, the interactions, personalities, and overall experiences will be familiar reading and might help you feel better about your situation.
Silas displays different types of relationships throughout the story, he has those that are motivating, senseless, semi-romantic, and friendly. Silas is both a complicated and simple character who begins as someone who is noble and just with his actions but transitions into someone else with self-seeking tendencies who forgets about bystanders in his quest for self-fulfillment. He receives help along the way, but who can blame him and hasn’t found themselves in a similar situation?
Pahler writes with humor and wit and helps the reader identify with his characters through their backstories and relatability. Silas is relatable to any working-class American who has a boss or supervisor who doesn’t care about anything besides making more money. Other characters have sick kids, health issues, and issues of grief. The dynamics among the characters are pleasing to read about and make the reader feel good that someone is trying to stick up to the “big guys.” I enjoyed the book’s smaller size compared to other books that are similar in size; I felt that the smaller size made it easier to get more engrossed in the story because of how quickly the pages turn.
Overall, Cubicles Anonymous is a pleasant read to help your mind escape from the stress around you and the possible mundaneness of your current life companions.
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