I don’t usually do this. I post my book reviews on GoodReads, Amazon and Book In The Bag (on Sundays) and save the Farceland for other things like religion, navel-gazing and whatnot.
Today, though, I’m breaking that rule because I’ve just abandoned a book in cold-fired anger the likes of which I seldom feel in response to the printed word.
A few years ago “Waiter Rant” was the hip, go-to blog. A lot of bloggers have waited tables at some point in their life and whinging about bad tippers and Christians who make working on Sunday a special hell is a big draw. Few people were surprised when the anonymous The Waiter got a book deal. I didn’t read the book because reading books based on blogs generally bothers me. Why should I buy your cow when you’ve given me the milk for free? But here we are a few years down the road and I suspect The Waiter needs money because his ticket to success (i.e. his book deal) is over and the book is now in Amazon Kindle’s clearance bin. It cost me a couple bucks and curiousity got the best of me. But then something happened….I’ll let the review speak for itself. From here on out you see the same thing I have up at GoodReads….
This is a bargain Kindle read for the month of July. It may be worth the $2 I gave for it. Maybe.
I didn’t read the book when it first came out because
1. I don’t trust books based on blogs as so many of them merely compile the free-to-read blog entries and sell them to people too lazy to click through the blog archives.
2. When I had read the blog in the past it struck me as alternating between smug pretension and snarky whining.
3. If I want to hear waitstaff grumble about tips I can go to Reddit or LiveJournal.
Well, so far the book is at least safe on #1…there is actually some semblance of new material. Unfortunately that “new”
material hurts the #2 category in a big way. Because now The Waiter takes anecdotes from the blog and weaves them into the most tiresome story device ever…the “here is the deeper life meaning revealed by this little story.”
Knowing that the author went to seminary should be a warning. The book is indeed so far a series of secularised homilies. It’s a sermon collection for people who worship food.
I’m writing this review while I’m only halfway through the book because I’m honestly not sure if I’ll finish the book itself. The voice he writes with just does NOT make me want to root for him. He’s snottily making snap judgements on the diners whose patronage kept him fed, clothed, housed and patronizing lap dancers for the better part of a decade. I like how a guy who can’t get it together in his own life decides that he can automatically declare a person a villain for leaving him a $7 tip instead of the more mathematically correct $9.50.
I tip well for a variety of reasons, mostly because I know what it’s like to have a hard job and I appreciate having someone else carry my plate and bring me sodas. But the difference between a bad tip –10%– and a good tip of 15-20% is often only a couple of dollars. I err on the side of generosity unless the service has been a huge failure. But I can understand the reasoning behind some folks’ decision to tip the lower amount and I don’t think it’s particularly fair for someone like The Waiter to be so rude about it. Yes, I know servers don’t make minimum wage. But he himself repeats endlessly that he stays in the job largely because he’s addicted to the lifestyle and has little financial discipline. With these confessions out in the open it hardly seems sensible for him to complain about the people whose whims underwrite his drunken strip club crawls.
Any amount of patience I had for this guy went out the window when he told the story about giving espresso to a woman who was annoying him with her repeated requests for a very hot cup of decaf. I understand being upset about not getting paid what you deserve. (Try being an executive assistant for a couple years and then come crying. They’re always underpaid and don’t get free food and booze). I understand wanting an outlet for the various gripes that come with any job.
But when you begin medicating people against their explicit requests, that crosses a major line. Caffeine is a drug that many people cannot have due to medicatons for heart disease, migraine, autoimmune disease, Type 2 diabetes and many other common ailments. When a person says “decaf” fifty times it’s obviously important. In what may come as a shocking twist, Mr. The Waiter, the world does NOT revolve around you so the lady’s request for decaf is most likely not some plot cooked up in an underground bunker to annoy your precious self. The fact that you’d go ahead and give her not only caffeine but a highly-concentrated dose of the stuff is proof of what a self-absorbed twit you really are.
I think I’m officially done spending time in your world.