Beautiful writing and character study. O'Nan's descriptions of the protagonist's car on the first page, the diners who lived through the Depression who moved from thrift to greed, and the lead's imagining himself in a Bruce Willis Die Hard role were high points for me. Some book group members complained "nothing happened." If you're looking for a page turner, take a pass on this one. If you want a realistic view of life for the working class, this tale of the final night at a Red Lobster forced to close down is a great one. Those who had worked in restaurants found it to be fully accurate.
Highly recommended. This is a simple book, in all the best sense of the word, about a man facing his past, his present, and his future. Many of the classics used similar formulas (see Les Miserable!)but in this case the hero is the Manager of a Red Lobster in suburban Connecticut and not the hero of the revolution!
O'Nan is great at capturing little moments that in other hands could be wasted words, such as the little ways Manny, the protagonist, gently arranges items on tables as he walks by. Compared to the cast of characters joining him as the restaurant prepares to close and some head off to the Olive Garden to start over, those little moments reveal a lot.
An easy read, at 140, pages, and a great intro to O'Nan for newcomers. And anyone who has ever worked at a chain restaurant will just appreciate the attention to detail (O'Nan supposedly got a Red Lobster manager's handbook off Ebay).
A sad but beautiful story, with real people in an all too real situation. My late husband would have loved it too - he was in the fast food business and this book brought to mind many of the stories he told me about adventures in running a restaurant.
Wow, what an writer! I read this book in an afternoon and it was a fantastic bit of prose only 142 pages of life in the working class of america. A real gem.
Good writing and a wonderful, realistic, story line.
Just as in life, things don't always go exactly the way you'd like them to. But somehow the writer manages to give us a few chuckles and a lot of nostalgic smiles. I couldn't stop reading it, even though there is no heart pounding plot, no thrills or chills, and no sex. Well maybe just a hint of the protagonist's sexy memories and wistful daydreams. O'Nan describes a freezing and snowy winter night in New England. The description brought this Florida transplanted Massachusetts girl right back, making me feel the bone deep cold, and see the beauty of it as well. Red Lobster, behind the scenes, was described with what seemed like brutal honesty, but it still didn't come off as a really bad place to work, or at which to spend a pleasant dining time. The cleanliness got to me. If they're all like that I'm super impressed. I read the book in one sitting, it's not long, and I loved it.
An enchanting little book that offers insights into the operation of the restaurant business and the people who work there.
Although Stewart O'Nan expertly provided details to help readers experience the working world of a small chain restaurant, overall I thought the book was rather boring. It had little in the way of plot.
Stewart O'Nan gives us another real life story in this short book. Corporate decision to close a Red Lobster due to poor performance, not taking into consideration the corporation was part of the reason patrons no longer dined there. No upgrades to decor, no repairs mades, etc. But they expected Manager Manny to improves sales. How typical of corporate greed. This poignant story of the last night tells the strength the manager and staff have, the grit to even show up for the last night, especially with a snow storm brewing. Manny is a professional to the very end, even with his love life in shambles. A quick, enjoyable read.
I enjoyed this story alot. It is a hard time for the people who work at The Lobster and Manny is running the last shift and closing down the Lobster after serving for the last time. He is also saying goodbye to a waitress he is in love with. Sad story but a wonderful read.