Tuesday, October 14, 2008

[Book Review] TURNING TABLES by Heather and Rose MacDowell


Andrea Bledsoe reviews TURNING TABLES by Heather and Rose MacDowell (Random House, 2008)

Before I started working at the Library, I waited tables. In fact, I waited tables for ten years. I began while I was in college, worked in various restaurants all through college, and even waited tables around three years after I graduated. Hey, when you have a Bachelor of Arts in English, aren’t certified to teach yet, and restaurant work is really your only job experience, what are you going to do?! Don’t get me wrong, I actually loved the fast paced energy of restaurants. It’s tough and grueling work, and the hourly rate ($2.13 plus tips) should be illegal. And, most importantly, it is not for everyone, even though I personally think everyone should wait tables at least once in their lives.

Erin Edwards is a rising star in the New York marketing and advertising scene. Due to the tough economy we are experiencing, Erin loses her executive job and is forced to waitress to make ends meet. Under the false impression that waiting tables will be easy compared to what she had been doing, Erin enters a whole new world. She quickly realizes that waiting tables is more than just bringing customers their food and drinks. She is humbled as she deals with a hot-tempered chef, verbally abusive restaurant owners, various servers’ personalities, and (no surprise here) the neediness of her customers!

Erin’s self-esteem takes daily beatings as the owners and the chef constantly remind her that she has no place in this upscale, hip Manhattan eatery. Determined to rise above the jeers, Erin tries to be more professional in her work as the insults get more personal. Does Erin finally have enough of the hurtful insults and just quit, or is she able to ignore them and overcome? This reviewer isn't telling, but I'll bet you will have a lot of fun finding out for yourself.

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel by the MacDowell sisters. They are former servers so they understand the restaurant business as much as I do. If nothing else, Turning Tables will teach readers how tough restaurant work is and maybe inspire them to be better tippers!

Andrea Bledsoe, Poplar-White Station Branch Library


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