One More Thing by BJ Novak

One More Thing book review

I finished reading One More Thing, by BJ Novak, a decent collection of humorous short stories. Some stories were extremely short― one story was two sentences about carrot cake. Some stories were really great, they made me laugh out loud. Others seemed like filler and the humor fell flat. One of the problems was with characterization. The characters all felt the same. It felt like they all had the same thought-processes, thought in that same modern, ironic, faux-logical voice. A lot of stories starred celebrities, like Johnny Depp or Nelson Mandela. I felt it was kind of lazy of the author, that with no effort or skill, merely invoking the name of the public figure immediately established the main character of the story, and the reader could fill in all the details of the main character’s persona based on what was read in tabloids. And then the story could get straight to mocking the main character in a completely ridiculous, contrived scenario. That is the defining feature of the book: ridiculous, contrived plots. Then the author would take one of his homogenous characters or a celebrity and put them into that ridiculous, contrived plot, and the result would be hit-or-miss. But I am being too harsh; I mostly enjoyed reading the book written by the writer/actor who played the temp from The Office.

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