Book Report: Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris (2007)

I read about this book in an Entertainment Weekly at the dentist’s office, and since I used to work for an interactive marketing agency, I had to have it. So I ordered a brand new book for over $1. Which explains why I’ll avoid Entertainment Weekly in the future; it tempts me to order expensive books that I might enjoy.

I did enjoy this book. It details the story of a Chicago ad agency (real ad agency, not interactive) that’s slumping immediately after 2000. Told in the first person plural (we this, we that), it nevertheless breaks individual characters out to identify what role they play in the process.

It’s enjoyable and comedic, but not quite completely on the money in describing the day to day that I would expect from a failing company. I mean, the book describes some office nuttiness and the dread of lay offs that trickle out over the course of days or weeks while people continue their underemployed shenanigans. Brothers and sisters, in most cases, layoff will happen pretty chop-chop when things are as bad as they’re portrayed in this book. Also, the characters are just a shade too whacky. The narrative voice takes a while to get used to, and I’m not sold on the ultimate sentences that wind it up–I don’t know what those are supposed to mean.

But it’s a good enough book, and a literary read at that. Who would have known?

Books mentioned in this review:

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