Sunday, August 17, 2014

'One More Thing'

This has been the saddest year....

Not only have I lost my daughter, but we have lost one of the world's most original comedians, gentle humanitarians, and sensitive actors.  I speak, of course, about Robin Williams.

Today, my husband and I replayed Williams' 1998 film, 'What Dreams May Come' (based on the book written by the late, great Richard Matheson), and were startled by some of the lines. His mentor tells him that he died at 63...and Williams was 63 when he committed suicide just last week.  The irony is so apparent now that Williams has left us, and I'll never see it in the same way again.

After the film ended, we decided that we had enough sadness in our weekend, and I thought about a collection of short stories that made me laugh.  We all need some laughs, don't you think?  I'm sure that Robin would approve.

'One More Thing' is a recently-published collection of short stories written by the brilliant B. J. Novak, a former writer/actor on the U.S. version of 'The Office'.  Although his early appearances as The Temp were spent in the background, once his character was promoted to District Manager, he really came into his own.  Self-absorbed (especially with that damn Blackberry!), cruel (especially to his on-again, off-again girlfriend Kelly, played by the equally-brilliant Mindy Kaling), and entitled (or so he thought), Novak gave us some hilarious moments.  But I feel it was his writing that truly showcased his talent.

Once I saw the funny, original trailer for 'One More Thing', I knew I had to get my hands on it. 

A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes, only to discover that claiming the winnings will totally change his family dynamic.  A woman sets out to seduce Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker, and turns to Robbins, himself, for advice.  A man newly-arrived in Heaven finally decides to fulfill a promise he made to his grandmother...only to find that it is postponed time and time again.  We learn why wearing a red t-shirt is the key to finding true love.  And when the Stock Market is's really down.

Author B.J. Novak
There's more, lots more, and some of them contain rip-roaring irony.  Some are only a page long.  Some of them are a bit...snarky.  But all are entertaining (I loved 'The Market was Down') and subtle in some of their messages. But most of all, they are just so damn original. 

Thank you for the laughs (and the sensitivity), Mr. Novak.

It seems you've finally been promoted from Temp.

'One More Thing', written by B.J. Novak, and published by Alfred A. Knopf, is available at your local library and favorite independent bookstore. 
ISBN 978-0-385-35183-6


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