Monday, January 26, 2009

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan

"He has been counting on this one last shift for so long, as if it might hold some final answer. It can't he knows, yet he feels threatened at the idea of losing his last chance..."

This little gem of a story centers around restaurant manager Manny DeLeon and his last night at Red Lobster, the eatery by the mall that is closing for the last time. It is just before Christmas with a winter storm fast approaching, and many of the employees do not show up for their last shift, which Manny can hardly blame them for.

This last night is bittersweet, as Manny along with 5 other employees have a new job waiting for them at The Olive Garden. However, he knows this is the last night he has a chance to tell Jackie, the waitress he is in love with, how he feels. To complicate matters, Manny's girlfriend Deena is pregnant with his baby and Jackie has a boyfriend.

Simple yet heartfelt, Last Night at the Lobster punctuates moments of melancholy (Manny's dilemma) with humor (the obnoxious customer who's child throws up on her boots). This book is for anyone who has ever had a work family, has ever worked in food service, or who simply enjoys an honest story of love and regret.

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