Books & Literaturebitchmedia.org
While reading the first pages of Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman’s new novel, The Very Nice Box, I felt slightly irritated. Engrossed in the book—which follows Ava Simon, a design engineer at a huge furniture company named STÄDA, who is still grieving the death of her fiancé Andie—I couldn’t quite pinpoint the exact sensation or emotion I was feeling (which went deeper than STÄDA’s similarities to IKEA). No, I hadn’t felt this while shopping for a new dresser. So when had I felt it? And why? I didn’t piece it together until Ava’s new boss, Mathew Putnam, practically forces her to download a therapy app named SHRNK. When Mat perkily tells Ava, “Now you can bring your problems to your SHRNK so you can bring your positivity to STÄDA,” it became clear that what I’d struggled to name was a strong feeling of dystopia, one I hadn’t felt since I read George Orwell’s 1984 when I was 13.