Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Cranky Review of Last Night at the Lobster

Stewart O'Nan, and Last Night at the Lobster, seem to be internet favorites of soooo many bloggers I love. So I hope they don't want to kick me in the head when I'm done with this review. 

I originally downloaded this little book, only 160 pages, for my #15in30 challenge, but it took me a little while to get around to it. While I was really excited to pick it up, ultimately it didn't pan out for me. 

O'Nan, and this little novella, are heralded for exploring the working class and probing the "workaday world seldom seen in contemporary fiction." 

Maybe I've just been a member of the working class in the workaday world for too long, and I certainly enjoy a Cheddar Bay biscuit as much as the next average Jolene, but another story of a man in love with his job and a girl he can't have is just not flipping my switch. 

Sorry if this seems dismissive, but it is. I'm cranky and unapologetic for not liking this one. It wasn't terrible. It didn't piss me off or anything, but it was beyond ho-hum. Kinda like Richard Russo! He and I don't get on either.  

In other news, O'Nan's writing style was fine. It was more the characters and subject matter I didn't give two shits about. I'd try The Odds: A Love Story. It's already on my Goodreads list. 

Read a summary of Last Night at the Lobster here

Pub. Date: November 2007
Publisher: Viking
Format: E-book
ISBN: 9780670018277
Source: Bought it!

26 comments:

  1. Aww, sorry this wasn't your cuppa. And for the record, I'm a fan of Richard Russo, too ;-)

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    1. I read Empire Falls and didn't love it, though I would probably try Straight Man for the heck of it.

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  2. Oh man. I was sitting here thinking, sounds like Russo. I'm not a fan either, and I have no desire to pick up this book. (Or really anything because I'm grumpy at the end of the semester.)

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    1. LOL, yeah, no. And I know what you mean. I turned in grades last night. DONE.

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  3. I have a tenuous relationship with O'Nan. We don't really get along. He is rather hostile to me.

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  4. The cranky part made me laugh because I'm right there with you! I just finished a book that made me cranky as well. The blurb doesn't really grab me and based off your review I can give this book a miss without feeling like I'm missing out on something. I will keep the author in mind as you did seem to enjoy the writing style.

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    1. Everyone but me (almost) seems to love this book, so if you ever get a wild hair, it's not a big time commitment. But cheers to things that blow our skirts up more than this.

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  5. I haven't heard of this one, but that premise (a man in love with his job and a girl he can't have) is one that doesn't totally excite me all that much. Glad the writing was nice, at least!

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    1. Yeahhhhh, just a little dry. I think he could've whipped up something good with a better plot.

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  6. I just finished a book that many loved, and it didn't work for me at all; it was so monotone, I thought I was reading the wrong book for a long time. It happens so no need to apologize when it doesn't work. Not every book fits every reader.

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    1. MONOTONE! That is a great word. :D

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  7. Yeah well, sometimes great titles don't make great reads. Chalk it up and have some lobster hahahaha!

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    1. Ooooh, I could definitely go or some lobsta.

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  8. Sorry this didn't work for you. I had really high expectations for it and you helped temper them.

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  9. I liked this one. I like Russo, too. But for O'Nan I thought Wish You Were Here was much better.

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    1. Ooh, good to know! Goodreads'ing it.

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  10. Ugh - I have this one on my TBR. I'd never read O'Nan until West of Sunset, which I thought was blah. And, so many bloggers said that one was a dud, but that I needed to try Last Night at the Lobster. I might still try it since it's so short...and I did like O'Nan's writing in Sunset (but, like you said about Lobster, I thought Sunset's topic was boring too...maybe he just picks boring topics - ha!)

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    1. Gah! Why can't he pick cooler topics so his writing SHINES?

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  11. I'm with Ti. This one was ok and West of Sunset was ok, but my favorite one is Wish You Were Here!

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  12. I bought this shortly after it came out because of all the great reviews, and it sat on my shelf for years. I thought I'd eventually get around to it, especially because it was so short, but I never felt the urge to read it. I recently got rid of it during my major book purge last year, and have no regrets about letting it go. Reading this reinforced my decision! :D

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  13. This doesn't sounds like it would be a good fit for me either! I think it's great that we don't all love the same things :)

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  14. The only books I've read of O'Nan are his earliest ones: In the Walled City (short stories), Snow Angels, A Prayer for the Dying, and one of his nonfiction books ,The Circus Fire (a.k.a. why circus tents shouldn't be rain-proofed with paraffin). As far as the novels, Snow Angels was ok, but I loved A Prayer for the Dying. It is set in post-Civil War small-town Wisconsin, the main character is the sheriff/mortician/preacher, and the town is hit with a deadly epidemic. It's told in second-person, which may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think it worked here - brought the horror home. Because I loved A Prayer for the Dying so much, I kept trying O'Nan's later works but ended up abandoning them. I didn't even try Last Night at the Lobster because by the time it came out, I'd concluded that A Prayer for the Dying was the one intersection between O'Nan's novel writing and my reading taste.

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  15. LOBSTER was a very quick DNF for me. I wanted to like it because I loved West of Sunset, but this one bored me to tears. Completely agree.

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  16. bahahahaha love the honesty in your review. I'm sitting here laughing at my computer. too funny.

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