I got half way through this book and had a moment of paralyzing fear, Why did Boyfriend get me this book for Christmas?
Because here's the thing. This book is not very kind to people who eat in restaurants (a label which I happily give myself as much as possible). He tends to make broad generalizations and then rationalizes them with, "most people are not like this." There are some heart warming stories about very rich people who help him out or very poor people that he helps out (because being a waiter in a fancy restaurant is kind of like being the messiah) - but, obviously, there are not very many stories about just normal people who come in, eat, leave a 20% tip and then go home. Which makes sense because we're a fairly boring bunch, but he complains SO much about jerks that you kind of feel like he thinks we're all jerks and every now and then, someone surprises him.
Anyway, turns out Boyfriend does not think I am a terrible person who does not deserve to eat in a restaurant, he just thought that the book might be kind of like David Sedaris and knew I liked him, so went for it.
And it is like David Sedaris, in that there are many short stories, although he spends much more time finding meaning in the stories than David Sedaris every does. While David Sedaris does eventually find meaning - the meat of the story is the story itself. I wish this book was more like that. I get that being a waiter is shitty. But most jobs are pretty shitty. I can't think of a single job where you aren't dealing with jerks and annoying people all day long. Apparently this planet is overrun with terrible people. Bummer.
My favorite part of this book was the descriptions of all the people. Obviously. The best part is the story. And so, if this was truly a David Sedaris-esque book it would be all story, with space left for the reader to figure out that we're all terrible people and we should tip better.
It did give me pause, to be perfectly honest. There are some habits of mine, that now seen from the other perspective make me feel a bit guilty. Although I still do not understand the assigned seating in a completely empty restaurant bit. Maybe it depends on the place or the day, but if its a Sunday morning and there is no one there - why can't I just sit wherever I want?? I am paying for this experience right? I should not be judged for wanting a table near the window. Right?? Sorry to be a dick, maybe there is something I'm just not getting about this whole thing...
But more stories about crazy people! That's what I want! I want to hear more about the stupid people who insist that everything on their plate be cooked in peanut oil and the men who come in with hookers and all that good stuff. That was by far the most enjoyable part of the book. Some of it kind of felt like I had done something wrong and was being lectured.
Also, this guy made a book out of a blog, I have to give that kind of thing uber-props. As someone who can barely force herself to type more than four or five sentences of pure drivel on any given day - this guy put in the work and it paid off well. So, kudos for that...but I still want to hear more gossipy stories about strangers.