Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris, 385 pages
TBR Lite 2009
We really enjoyed this book, but we haven't read many (any?) books written in the first person plural, and it was surprisingly effective. It epitomized the group think that develops in an office, the culture of a staff.
Our business was advertising and details were important. If the third number after the second hyphen in a client's toll-free number was a six instead of an eight, and if it went to print like that, and showed up in Time magazine, no one reading the ad could call now and order today. No matter they could go to the website, we still had to eat the price of the ad. Is this boring you yet? It bored us every day. (page 3)
I knew I'd like this book after I encountered this line on the first page and I ha!ed out loud. It just tickled my funny bone, all the way through. Then the email that got sent by Marcia to "all" instead of just Genevieve, "It's really irritating to work with irritating people," which went around the office faster than the flu and led people to comment to Marcia continuously about it. You know, if you have worked with anyone at all, how those type of things never die.
In the beginning, it just seemed like stories and situations, and I wasn't sure how much I would read of these, albeit funny stories, but no apparent plot. Close to the middle though, a plot emerged, and the book really took off, as the tone changed a bit. Breast cancer can do that. Ferris was able to continue with the funny even with a much more depressing topic. Ferris is a very talented writer.
If you've worked in a cubicle, or an ad agency, or with other people nearby, if you enjoy quirky humor, if you like reading about the interactions of groups, this book is for you. If you love your work, or hate your job, you'll find something to relate to.