A book I wrote, a book I am reading
This year Starbucks is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. I thought it was time to mark the occasion by reading books on Starbucks. I have written and published an historical fiction novel called Tripio, set at a Chicago Starbucks in 1992. Firstly, my comparative study of Starbucks literature focused on the books in green apron and behind the people. Secondly, this rules out the books written by Howard Shultz, Howard Behar or any of the dozens of books concerned with how Starbucks succeeded financially since 1971. As a result I did not include the endless fictional stories either set at a Starbucks, or have a scene or two take place in one of the locations.
Coffee industry legend Kevin Knox described Tripio as “much needed contrast by showing that the lifeblood of the company in those formative years was the idealism, sacrifice and hard work of the baristas.” I went looking for told from the perspective of the green apron wearing barista. “My search came across Michael Gates Gill’s account called How Starbucks save my life. Even if his book is auto biographical, I feel the comparison holds up because Tripio is at the very least, emotionally autobiographical. In Tripio and How, the characters are wearing the green apron (and a red apron in my case) and are primarily baristas doing work behind the counter.
Here are my thoughts after reading Chapter one of How Starbucks saved my life. Stayed tuned for more of my comparative study of Starbucks literature.
HOW THEY ARE THE SAME, HOW THEY ARE DIFFERENT
- Michael Gates Gill was a customer before he got the job. I interviewed at Starbucks, never having seen one before then.
- He had 3 girls and 1 boy. I have 1 girl and 3 boys. He provided money, I provided time.
- Tom Hanks nearly made How Starbucks saved my life into a movie. Tom Hanks credits the Wright State University theatre department for helping him get started on his illustrious career. I went to Wright State University a and some characters in Tripio are based on WSU theatre department grads.
- His work life took him to Starbucks in desperation. I went to Starbucks full of aspirations (to be a writer).
- He drank lattes. I drank Tripios, of course.
- Michael Gates Gill liked the sound of his name. I don’t like the sound of mine.
- He didn’t like yoga. I do.
- His Starbucks was in New York, mine in Chicago
- M.G.G. was married and getting divorced. Jay was single and becoming a parent.
- M.G.G was asked if he’d like a job. Jay was asked if he loved coffee.
- M.G.G. was “an old fart’ looking for direction in his life. Jay was young man looking for direction in his life.
- I started keeping the journals that became Tripio when I worked at Starbucks in 1990. Gill and Gotham Books published How in 2007.
I found point eleven worth considering. I often joke that when I worked at Starbucks, it was still a coffee company. If anyone has a title to add to this “comparative study of Starbucks fiction, please let me know. Thanks!