Choose Your Own Misery: The Office Adventure Review: A NSFW Choose Your Own Adventure

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Some of my favourite books as a kid — and I’m probably dating myself here — were the popular Choose Your Own Adventure books. If you’re not familiar with them, you’d read a couple pages and be presented with a choice. Take one path and go to page 42, pick the other and go to page 98 — more often than not with your finger marking the last page you made a choice on in case you made a bad one and wanted to go back. Now there’s a Choose Your Own Adventure Misery story for us adults titled Choose Your Own Misery: The Office Adventure. Written by Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon, the pair of comedy writers and former contributors to The Onion update the genre where, as is often the case in adult life, the only options are endless varieties of misery.

As the book jacket says, “you have endless choices… but few real options” in this tale where you begin hungover and stuck at a job you hate and find yourself choosing between numerous options which can only end badly. We were lucky enough to get an advance copy and take a look in our Choose Your Own Misery: The Office Adventure review.

To give you a brief overview, nothing can describe the book better than the jacket copy:

Hungover and stuck at a job you hate, will you show up for your big presentation, or duck out with Debby, the HR rep with an FDR fetish? Play the weird lump on your back for office-wide sympathy, or dive into an internet spiral that can only end in “ten kinds of cancer”? Tell someone about the weird genital-fondling that’s happening at the crystal healer’s, or just accept that this is the best substitute you’ll find for love, today…or maybe ever?

From two comedy writers and past contributors to The Onion comes a modern-day tale of woe: the story of your soul-crushing existence. Choosing your own adventure is great when you’re a kid, but in the adult world, the only options on offer are endless varieties of misery. In your office adventure there are countless “options,” but they rarely end well. It’s okay, though. A life of adventure would require so many uncomfortable sleeping situations. Besides, you have dental. Keep reminding yourself about the dental.

If that isn’t enough to convince you to go pick up the book, hopefully the rest of this review will. The 300-page book presents you with ample content based on the choices you make. As mentioned previously, you start out your adventure waking up to the BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP shrieking of your alarm clock. You are hungover, and faced with the choice to get up and go to work feeling under the weather or hitting that good old snooze button.

The first couple of reads through, it definitely feels like you’re stuck in Groundhog Day, starting the day over in the same hungover state. Humourous at first, each choice slowly adds to the misery and you start to feel a sense of despair and even dread given some of the choices — do you go for lunch with your boss or the co-worker with a chance of a lunch time quickie? Cancel your planned presentation or attempt to do it unprepared and hung over? Cry yourself to sleep or pour yourself the strongest drink you’ve ever had? …and the list goes on. Eventually, if you choose “correctly,” you’ll reach the end of your miserable journey — most of the time with an equally miserable end. Eventually though, I did find a somewhat positive ending or two — once I got that promotion and raise, albeit through suspect means.

MacDonald and Gagnon have done a fantastic job with the choices and writing in the book, it’s a quick and easy read from start to finish — EVERY time you read it. Just when you think the last choice you made couldn’t get any more outlandish, the duo one up themselves and you find yourself roleplaying in the janitor’s closet in a wheelchair, or deciding what to do about catching your coworkers bumping uglies in the bathroom. It’s one of the few books I’ve made sure to bring with me to show others when going out, and it’s a riot seeing other people’s expressions when they start reading the beginning of the book only to quickly get lost in the myriad of miserable choices you must make to get through your day at the office. Even though I’ve been through it numerous times, I’m certain there are choices and endings I haven’t discovered yet.

Choose Your Own Misery: The Office Adventure is a fun read for anyone working for a living — especially those of us who work in an office and need a reminder that perhaps our work lives just aren’t *that* bad! Oh, and forget about marking the last choice you had available, chances are going back to find the less miserable route will be in vain. This book, even though filled with miserable and sometimes darker choices, is definitely one of the funniest books I’ve read lately. If you enjoy movies like Office Space, you’ll most definitely enjoy this adventure.

Choose Your Own Misery: The Office Adventure is now available in print (MSRP $17.99USD) and eBook (MSRP $9.99) editions. It’s currently selling for $12.88 (paperback) or $7.16 on Amazon, which definitely puts it in the “can’t pass up” category. After hopelessly making my way through multiple story arcs and myriad of choices, I can only hope that this is just the first of a new series of Choose Your Own Adventure books that I can dig into.

Review 0
4.5 Out of 5
Nailed It
Fun, easy read.
Needs Work
It all ends in misery... but I guess that's the point 😉
Bottom Line
Choose Your Own Misery: The Office Adventure is a fun read for anyone working for a living — especially those of us who work in an office and need a reminder that perhaps our work lives just aren't *that* bad!
Our Rating4.50
*We were sent a review copy of Choose Your Own Misery: The Office Adventure for the purposes of this review.
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