I recently read a book called Waiter Rant, which I initially expected to be all about the business of waiting tables. While it is about that, the book is also about the life of a writer, and I found it an interesting read as a result.
About Waiter Rant
Author Steve Dublanica had a series of jobs in professional fields before he became a waiter in his early thirties. After waiting tables for awhile, he started blogging anonymously about the experience of being a water in a high end New York restaurant. His blog took off and eventually he got a book deal to write about his experiences in this book, Waiter Rant.
On the surface, the book is indeed a look at the restaurant industry from within the mind of an intelligent waiter. He shares his insights into his customers, his co-workers, his bosses and the business as a whole. Some of the things that I think he does really well in writing this story include:
- He doesn’t bank on the gritty details we’ve come to expect from tales of waiting tables. There’s not a bunch of wasted pages about things like waiters putting snot in your soup. He shares things we as customers don’t necessarily think about.
- He is honest about his opinions but he doesn’t excessively make fun of or put down anybody in his tales. Plus he is the first to admit that any poking fun can be turned right back around and poked at himself as well. Despite the ups and downs, this is a mostly positive tale of an interesting job.
- There are great snippets of stories throughout the book, little snapshots of life, little vignettes of experiences that are a pleasure to read.
- The writing is strong. This writer definitely has his own voice and he is skilled at making sure that the words fit that voice. He does a good job of telling a story across a span of time while making it feel like you’re immersed in the daily activities of the space, which is difficult to do.
Why It’s A Great Read For Writers
I picked up this book because it interested me to think about the experience of waiting tables. I was a waitress myself for all of a few weeks (and a cocktail waitress at a bowling alley for slightly longer) but it wasn’t a job I ever spent a long time at. It was too tough for me for a million reasons and I appreciate the people who are good at it as a result. I love hearing people’s personal stories and thought that this one would be unique.
What I was surprised by was how much of the book ends up giving insight into life as a writer, rather than a waiter. Some reasons this ended up being really interesting to me as a writer:
- Most (all?) writers do other jobs while they are trying to make it in writing. It is always inspiring to hear from those who have become successful with their writing while doing those jobs that perhaps we don’t really want to be doing to pay the bills.
- There are updates throughout the story about how the writer’s blog is developing and how his book is coming along. These are just small sentences here and there but they show the truth of how writing gets woven into the fabric of our everyday lives.
- The author discusses how the people in his life view his writing and how that changes over time depending on a number of factors including his success as a writer. It’s interesting to see this side of the story.
- The author remained anonymous for a very long time, first as a blogger and then when the book was first published. I find this super interesting in an era when everyone is so public!
- The most interesting writers are the ones that do a variety of different things in their lives and find stories in each and every experience. This book is a testament to that experience.