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09.17.08

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Phaedra

Waiter Rant

Reviewed by Matthew Craggs


If you've ever sat down at a fine dining establishment and ordered Kobe beef paired with baby greens, tomatillos and pickled English cucumbers accompanied by a split ciabatta roll, only to end up stuck with a $30 hamburger, then the misleading media buzz that has preceded Waiter Rant will seem familiar to you. This is not a book about the shocking or heartwarming tales of a waiter, nor is it a tell-all account of the life of a waiter, though it aspires to be both. Waiter Rant is an autobiographical story of an above-average waiter trying to become an average writer. Scattered throughout are effectively touching tales and revolting revelations, but unfortunately, they're not the focus. Instead, the "waiter," who was recently unmasked as Steve Dublanica, offers his thoughts on why waiters arrive at and stay in the profession, what motivates people to tip, illegal immigration, the hypocrisy of organized religion and substance abuse. Dublanica's insights are rarely original or interesting. It's only when he recounts the behind-the-scenes insanity of a waiter's life that he touches upon what made his blog that spawned this title famous in the first place. Too quickly, it becomes clear that the Waiter is winging it as the Writer. On no fewer than 20 occasions, Dublanica references his attempts to become a writer, and at one point even includes a conversation in which a co-worker proclaims he should write a book. Often conversations such as these are so convenient that you have to question if they're fictitious or if the Waiter just has many really dull but opportune discussions. Once you get past the fact that the Waiter is not going to serve up a substantially new amount of stories in the vein of the original blog, you can decide if you still want to pay for an experience that turns out to be just another hamburger. (By the Waiter [Steve Dublanica]; Ecco; 320 pages; $24.95; hardback)


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