Thursday, March 22, 2007
Fans of The Office, or those who just work in one, this is the book for you. I've been anxiously awaiting this book since reading about it in Nick Hornby's wonderful Housekeeping v. the Dirt. It didn't disappoint. Told with a collective "we" narrator but populated with many first person stories of work life, Ferris captures the essence of life in an ad agency where fear of layoffs runs rampant. Ferris has the office culture down pat--the currency of gossip, the meetings that take place after meetings, the effort and creativity with which people go about looking busy and avoiding work. In a book like this with such a large cast, it would be easy for the characters to descend into caricature. Not in this book. Ferris finds the behavior quirks and character traits that we find annoying in our coworkers--and that they find annoying in ourselves--and gets to the motives behind those traits and the real people underneath. From the superwoman boss who may or may not have cancer, to the aloof, kiss-ass middle manager with a troubled past, to the laid-off worker who keeps coming back to the office, first to complete his resume then to prove his worth, Ferris' people are real and complex and interesting. And did I mention this book is funny too? This is the best book I've read in a long time, and I highly recommend it. I can't wait to read what Ferris does next.