Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm in Print!

Can I crow for just a minute? I happened to be working on my second book review for LJ the other day and had a question about format. I opened the May 1st issue to look at a review and my eyes fell on - you guessed it - my very own review! I couldn't believe it. How come no one told me it was there? Why hadn't LJ sent me a copy? I guess they don't do that. So now I can actually say I'm published. Very cool.

When I was finishing up Stewart O'Nan's sweet little novel, The Last Night at the Lobster, I was thinking about who would read this book. Unless you'd been in the food service industry it might not appeal, but if you have? You'll get some poignant chuckles. One of my dirty little secrets is that while I was married, my ex-husband and I ran not one, but TWO restaurant/club establishments. I'm using the term restaurant loosely, believe me. They were bars, pure and simple, and if I use the term "the dregs of humanity" to describe our customers, please don't think I'm being unkind. Just the facts m'am.

So they say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I have to admit that, while I was running these places, I hated life. Looking back on it though, I realize what great fodder it will be if I ever become a "real" writer. My experiences also made for some interesting interviews! All that is to say how much I enjoyed the O'Nan book. The entire thing revolves around one day, the last day, of a Red Lobster in Connecticut that 's being shut down by its corporate HQ for lack of sales. Anyone who's ever worked in a restaurant knows that the staff is like a microcosm of society; each player, from the busboy to the dishwasher to the chef and the hostess, has their little dramas and petty squabbles going on. Resentments flair over the smallest thing, "so and so got an extra table tonight," "the manager (in this case Manny) treats the prep guy better than the line cook," you know the kind of thing. Still, at the end of day, the staff of The Lobster are like family and Manny's efforts to make sure that their last day together is a good one, despite the winter storm outside and the fact that he won't be taking everyone with him to The Olive Garden down in Bristol, makes for a delightful read.

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