Speed Reading

Pub date December 24, 2008
SectionArts & CultureSectionLiterature

By Steve Dublanica


320 pages


Lately publishers seem to be following two rough guidelines: first, anyone can write a memoir; second, if it’s a blog, it might as well also be a book.

Waiter Rant, based on (you guessed it) a blog of the same name, does plenty to refute both unspoken rules. Author Steve Dublanica may have some pithy anecdotes, but he fails to compile them in any cohesive or thoughtful way. At best, his book is a series of blog posts stretched out to chapter length. At worst, it’s plain dull. The cover blurb from Kitchen Confidential icon Anthony Bourdain is meant to suggest that Waiter Rant will give readers a behind-the-scenes look at waiting tables. And it does, to a point. It also, most unfortunately, affords Dublanica ample opportunity to wax philosophical on just about everything, including why waiters take drugs (they’re stressed) and why people don’t tip enough (they’re cheap).

Not to mention that the author spends far too much time worrying about whether or not he’ll finally publish his book — spoiler alert: he does — and become more than just a waiter. There’s something inherently bothersome about his attitude. If his success story is meant to inspire those who are still "just" waiters, why is he so down on their chosen profession?

Inevitably, Waiter Rant is more self-serving than insightful. I’m sure it’s comforting to all the under-the-radar bloggers out there that someday they, too, might get a book deal. Let’s hope that if and when that happens, they remember there’s a difference between having a story and telling it well.