Normally I'll pull one or two quotes out of a review when posting here or on Facebook to give readers a general sense of the reviewer's thoughts. But last night I read one of the funniest and most creative reviews I've ever encountered.
Big thank you to Steve from Silver Screen Videos for taking the time to craft this postmodern (!) review-within-a-short story written in the second person. Steve is an expert on all things cinema, so if you're a movie buff make sure to check out his website as well. (We had a brief chat over email, for example, during which he pointed me to an early noir film shot entirely from a first person POV!)
Here is Steve's unabridged review of Morale Was Down:
"NOTE: The author graciously provided me with a copy of this book and requested that I write a review.
You're at work one day wondering how to kill the hour you have left until you go to lunch. You could start work on that big project the boss gave you but you realize you won't be able to figure out what's going on until lunch time anyway so you might as well not start. You've checked your e-mail and your Twitter account and your Facebook page and your e-mail again and there's nothing new. And you've gone past your boss's office for coffee three times already this morning and you don't want to give him any ideas that you're spending time at the coffee machine instead of working on that project you've told him is well under way even though you won't even look at it until after lunch. Then you remember that story called "Morale Was Down" by Evan Ronan that you bought on Amazon primarily because some guy wrote a review in the second person that he claimed was just like the style of the story and he said it was about an office just like the lousy one you work at and it's about a boss who's just like your lousy boss.
Anyway, you remember that according to the review, one of the employees brought in a Stromboli for lunch and then said someone stole it. So the big boss at the company orders the jerk of a middle manager boss who's just like the lousy middle manager boss you work for to find the Stromboli because it will help morale at the office, which had been down lately. And, according to the review, the boss spends most of the day looking for the Stromboli except when he gets distracted, which happens a lot just like you get distracted a lot when you're at work. So, you say, what the heck, you might as well spend that hour reading "Morale Was Down" and then saying you were doing research on improving your leadership skills.
And you start to read and you start to think this guy Evan Ronan really knows what it's like to work in an office. And his descriptions of all the different types of employees sound just like the ones you work with, only funnier. And that story. Wow, that boss is even lazier and knows more ways to waste time than you do (of course, you take notes in case you ever have to use some of these tricks). The boss in the story also takes notes but they're not very good notes, and, in fact, most of what he does to figure out what happened to the Stromboli doesn't work out too well either.
So you start to grin. Then you giggle. Then you giggle some more. Then you burst out laughing when that guy Ronan writes about the fake Amber Alert reporting the missing Stromboli that someone posts on the refrigerator door. And that's when you decide this guy Ronan really knows what it's like to work in an office, and his description of office politics is quite astute and hilariously funny to boot. If fact, it's funnier than the cat video you watched six times on YouTube this morning.
And before you realize what's happening, you've finished the story and you look around and everyone's gone off to lunch except for that one guy who's staring at you wondering just which cat video you're looking at that's so funny. So you put your Kindle away and decide that since you've spent all that time doing research, you'll take your full lunch hour anyway. And you also decide you need to do some more research so you decide you'll read "Morale Is Down" again this afternoon instead of working on that project that's not going anywhere anyway.
And you read it again. And again. Because "Morale Is Down" is so funny. And so realistic, like your own office. And that writing style of Ronan's is so fast paced and breezy and tongue in cheek that it even gets the Amazon reviewer to write a review in that exact same style. And you realize it's just so easy to just sit back and enjoy Ronan's clever dialogue and enticing style. And that writing style will stay with you a long time because you're going to remember this story and the missing Stromboli for a long, enjoyably long time. And no matter what happens to the lousy boss in the story, you know that your morale is up, way up, and it's going to stay way up even when something really lousy happens in your real life office. Because that's just the way the story is."