Book Review: Then We Came to the End

Then We Came to the End

Joshua Ferris

Little, Brown and Company

400 pages

We all know how monotonous work can be, especially the type of work that takes place in an office, at a desk, however, there is rarely a book that chooses to focus on that.  Then We Came to the End is set in an advertising company that is quickly going down the tubes after the market took a downturn.  Layoffs are abundant and everyone is tense as they wait to see whether they will be the next one to “walk Spanish”.

You also have the exorbitant amount of gossip that is common in the workplace.  Many of the coworkers are concerned that one of the partners is suffering from breast cancer, although no one can pinpoint exactly where the rumor originally started.  Not to mention that many people are fearful that a certain ex employee will come back to shoot up the building.

As someone who has held an office job, I could very much relate to the trials and tribulations espoused by the employees of Then We Came to the End.  Many portions had me chuckling aloud, while others had me nodding in agreement.

There was so much unpleasantness in the workaday world. The last thing you ever wanted to do at night was go home and do the dishes. And just the idea that part of the weekend had to be dedicated to getting the oil changed and doing the laundry was enough to make those of us still full from lunch want to lie down in the hallway and force anyone dumb enough to remain committed to walk around us. It might not be so bad. They could drop food down to us, or if that was not possible, crumbs from their PowerBars and bags of microwave popcorn surely would end up within an arm’s length sooner or later. The cleaning crews, needing to vacuum, would inevitably turn us on our sides, preventing bedsores, and we would make little toys out of runs in the carpet, which, in moments of extreme regression, we might suck on for comfort.

Although I left my office job months ago, I felt like I was right back at my desk, sipping my coffee and wondering how the hell I would make it through another day.  And I actually liked my job.

As much as I liked the book, I did feel at times that it was a little too long.  Ferris could have edited it in order to make it a tighter narrative, although that is really my only complaint.  Then We Came to the End is just an amazing piece of satire, and I am thinking I should read The Unnamed now, although I am not sure how similar the two books are.

Other Reviews:

Sophisticated Dorkiness

Presenting Lenore

Shelf Life

I purchased this book from Half Price Books.

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6 Responses

  1. Hmm…while I’m sure I could relate to it at some point, I like to get away from work when I read. Love the cover, though. I’m one that has sticky notes all over the place!

  2. I liked this book a lot too! I don’t remember the passage you quoted, but it’s exactly right.

  3. This is one of my favorite books! I just loved it from the very beginning until I came to the end (see what I did there?!?)… It was funny and sad and I was so impressed that and author could take something so mundane and really make it vital for me.

  4. Bleh…I live this on a daily basis…not sure I want to read about it!

  5. I had this on my wish list and then removed it. I’m still on the fence about it.

  6. I’ve never had a real office job, so I wonder…would I find this book as interesting? I’ve not read anything by Ferris, but I did just purchase a used copy of The Unnamed and can’t wait to read it.

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