Saturday, May 24, 2008

Then We Came To The End

I really had high hopes for this book. Really. I had heard great things about it; especially how funny it was. The story, as told by Joshua Ferris, is about an ad agency in Chicago that has fallen on hard times and is experiencing layoffs and bad employee morale. I can relate. Now make it funny. Well, for me, it didn't happen. However, the web site for the book is outstanding. Check it out.

First let me admit that I didn't finish the book. I've gotten through 260 of its 385 pages and I couldn't even tough it out to the end. The main reason though is that I was reading this while on vacation at an outstanding resort in Mexico and the LAST thing I wanted to do while relaxing was read about topics that reminded me of work. The second reason I couldn't commit was that there were so many characters and so much jumping around from one to the other that I could never fully invest or care about any of them. Finally at about the halfway point I thought it was really going to start focusing on Lynn, the creative director. A whole chapter was actually devoted to her story of breast cancer. OK, here I go, I can start caring. But once that chapter was finished, it was back to its scattered, unorganized ways. The author kept using "we" as the pronoun, but I could never figure out who the person was speaking. The point of view would change as he talked about different characters, but there was always the phantom "we" I couldn't get past. I just didn't care.

I did laugh at loud at one sentence because it describes the agency I work for to a T: "The dress code of any creative department will always be casual; they may reserve the right to take our jobs away, but never our Hawaiian shirts, our jean jackets, our flip-flops."

The more I read, the more I try to not be so loyal to a book that isn't cutting it. I have so many great books on my list that I can't be tied down to one that is like homework to read. I might go back and finish the last third of Then We Came To The End, but it's not going to be in the near future.