The Gum Thief was brilliant. Douglas Coupland has amazing skill at creating such great characters. Roger and Bethany feel like real people. Even the secondary characters have a reality about them. Doesn’t Kyle remind you of someone you dated? You can see DeeDee as someone’s mother. Roger and Bethany are not generic. They are individuals who are shaped by their circumstances.
It took place (mostly) in Staples! It’s one of the things that drew me to the novel. I worked at Staples a long time ago. I’m sure employees of the big box stores can relate to what Bethany and Roger say. Maybe everyone else will discover something. When a customer goes in, they don’t know that their sales associate is a budding novelist. No one knows who’s divorced, who has children or who has lost a loved one. Box store employees are anonymous. I think it was a wonderful idea to have a non-generic setting. Having such a specific location really makes you think about the people there.
I don’t think I have anything negative to say. I enjoyed the letter writing style. I thought Roger’s Glove Pond was strange and funny. I liked how “real life” events were making their way into the fictional novel. I even love to hate the person who gives Roger a C-. She hates all the things that make this novel wonderful. In case it’s not obvious, I loved The Gum Thief.