Tuesday, May 12, 2009

BOOK: Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

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.


  1. I'm in a cubicle now, so I know I can relate to this novel.

  2. I'm afraid that I didn't enjoy this book at all, and gave up after about 50 pages. I'm not a fan of books written in the first person, so the first person plural was just too much for me. Perhaps I should have persisted to the middle, where you say it took off for you.

    I think this is one of those love it hate it books to divide people.

  3. this sounds just different enough for me to like it! :-)Thanks!

  4. I still haven't read this one. Hopefully, one day. :)

  5. This one was very innovative and fun - and even had a heart there in the middle.

    He has a new book coming out soon that I want to get!

  6. bybee - I found it really funny, and it is on a lot of top 10 book lists for the year it was published.

    jackie - I can see it as a love it or hate it type of book. Humour can be so subjective. It did change around the middle, and stopped being anectdotes so much.

    joanna - it is very different and quirky. Hope you like it.

    joy - I've had it for over a year waiting to be read. It's one of those books where I wish I had read it much earlier. Why did I wait so long?

    lenore - it did have a heart in the middle, great way to describe that. I didn't know he had another book coming out, thanks for the heads up.

  7. You know, I enjoyed this book when I read it, apart from feeling that it was a tiny bit gimmicky. But I bet I'd like it even better now that I've worked in a proper office - your review really made me want to read it over again!

  8. Glad I found you.Another book blogger from Sunny SA.I will be back!!

  9. me again with my foot in my mouth.I was so happy thought you were from SA and the PEI is in Canada and not PE as in Port Elizabeth South Africa.I have been on this computer so long I am starting to go blind.

  10. Glad you liked it! I was highly amused too.

  11. Huh - this one has such a buzz but I couldn't tell if it was my cup of tea. But if you thought it was funny, that's good enough for me to give it a shot!


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