Author: Stewart O'Nan
Overview (taken from amazon.com):
The Red Lobster perched in the far corner of a run-down New England mall hasn’t been making its numbers and headquarters has pulled the plug. But manager Manny DeLeon still needs to navigate a tricky last shift with a near-mutinous staff. All the while, he’s wondering how to handle the waitress he’s still in love with, what to do about his pregnant girlfriend, and where to find the present that will make everything better.
While I loved this book, it is certainly not for everyone. O’Nan seems to be more interested in the people no one else sees- in this novel, a small group of restaurant workers- and is interested in exploring their world. Things happen, externally, in this book, but what’s more important is the internal- why did these people show up for work when it was so much easier to stay home? What keeps them there?- and, most importantly- in an age when purity is saved only for nuns and priests, what makes a man or woman good?
All of these are answered by a small, strong group of characters- characters you come to know quickly with O’Nan’s great skill at description of his characters- and you get to see small-town, simple life that isn’t simple at all. And yet the truth behind these characters, the simple love and family O’Nan presents makes the book an easy and quick, delightful and sad, beautiful book.
Again, the lack of external big events happening- no wars here, no power struggles- not out in the open- will make this book not suitable for everyone. However, for other readers who might enjoy a simple, honest portrait of someone you might know and life as we- the everyday people- know it, make sure to pick this book up.
If you've previously read this book, or do decide to read it, and enjoy it, you might also want to read Snow Angels, also by Mr. O'Nan, it's just as good.