Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris was his debut novel that delves into the mystical world of office life. His book is hilarious and explores the paranoia of a corporate advertising company that is going through a wave of layoffs. The novel follows the advertisers and their reactions to the layoffs, and also how they cope with the thought of being thrown out to unforgiving streets of Chicago. I would give this one a 3.5 out of 5. Here is my Five Things Wrap Up!
- The point of view was first person but had a twist…
It is written in first person plural, however, there are moments when Ferris write in first person singular. Ferris wanted to give the novel a collective feel. All of the workers in the office were in this together, and so was the reader. When it comes down to it, we are all in the same situation in life. I thought the style was really interesting, and really helped the meaning of the novel. I have not read any other novels that used this point of view.
- The plot was slow
The novel was overall really slow, which was why I gave it a 3.5 instead of a 4 out of 5. There was just not enough oomph that the novel gave. The jokes were hilarious and the office hijinks were realistic and not over the top, which was good. I just think that the “watercooler” dialogue that took up most of the novel was not the best mechanism to make for an enthralling story. Furthermore, there was not really a destination for the plot, so there was nothing to look forward to and made me feel like the book could have ended earlier than it had. The meaning of the book was great, but it just felt a little empty.
- The characters were realistic
Although the plot was slow and did not really develop into anything because of the style of dialogue used, I think the “watercooler” dialogue helped the reader connect with the characters much more. Although, what we heard about the characters was mostly gossip, the reader can see the underlying truth of it all. I enjoyed all of the characters, and when someone would fall off the wagon or got kicked to the curb, I sympathized with them. The characters really do resemble the characters on the TV show: The Office. I was not expecting much of a connection because of the point of view used, but I was able to. Start a discussion in the comments if you want if any of the characters reminded you of anyone.
- Deals with paranoia and perfectionism
Paranoia and perfectionism plagued the office workers, and I feel like these two things can be the downfall to any successful person. The characters were constantly wondering who would be next to go and were doing whatever was possible to keep their jobs. I feel like watching the struggle was the most amusing part of the book because it was so relatable. Nobody wants to make a bad impression and paranoia can get the best of us. It is always nice to know that you are not the only one.
- Best for people who are out of college
Another reason for the 3.5 was that I could not connect to the struggle of the workers completely. I have never had a professional job, and so I have not had the stress and the weight of adult life to get all of the feelings of the characters. Some things I am sure went right over my head, and that is okay. I will definitely pick up again in a couple of years for a fresh perspective.
Read ya later!