Book Review: One More Thing


Since I loved Amy Poehler's book and enjoyed Mindy Kaling's offering, I felt pretty safe picking up One More Thing by B.J. Novak, the writer/producer/actor from The Office. He's clearly a talented guy, so his fictional musings on life were bound to please.

Or so I thought.

I should start by saying that his writing is very, very good.  He's not only articulate and clever, he's funny and insightful. He has the ability to describe people in ways where you feel you can see them.

“..he seemed to be blazing outside the lines of his own body, as if he were drawn in crayon by an excited five-year-old;”

While I didn't ever find myself literally "LOL"ing, I was often amused.

His thoughts about the market being "down" and the voice he gave to Wikipedia were particularly clever.

"Oooh Carrot Top," said Joey. "Whatever happened to him?""Carrot Top was born Scott Thompson in Big Bear City, California in 1965," said Wikipedia Brown."Big Bear City? What an odd name. Is that a real place?" asked Joey."Big Bear City is an unincorporated census -designated location in San Bernardino County, California, with a population of __""Wait! Let's not get distracted," said Sally. "Every time we talk to Wikipedia Brown, we get distracted...."

I found the irony of "I never want to walk on the moon" and "The Something by John Grisham" particularly clever.

There were other bits and pieces which I enjoyed such as a business model for how to literally fulfill the statement, "if I had a nickel every time I spilled coffee, I'd be rich" and the bit on Kindness Between Cakes which reads, in its entirety,

“CHILD: “Why does carrot cake have the best icing?” MOTHER: “Because it needs the best icing.”

All of that sounds pretty good and there are good parts.  However, mostly I was struck by Novak's cynicism and general Eeyore attitude with life.  His writing gives me the picture of a comedian who is deeply unhappy and tries to cover it up with a laugh.  The act gets thin in a hurry.

“If you love something, let it go. If you don't love something, definitely let it go. Basically, just drop everything, who cares.”

Tongue in cheek humor works - kinda - maybe - sometimes.

I'm a bit at a loss to put my finger precisely on what I didn't enjoy, but the best I can do is say that I felt a general sense of foreboding and melancholy reading this "humorous" book.  Perhaps that's what he was going for, but it's not an experience I would recommend.

I'm glad I have an entirely different genre selected for my next read!!