Reviewed by Amy Gruzesky
This collection of short stories by B.J. Novak, the actor who played Ryan on the popular sit-com The Office, as well as a writer and director for the show, is a collection that is funny, warm, eclectic, weird, interesting, and, I feel confident in saying, a book that is nothing like anything you’ve read before.
One More Thing is a collection of 63 individual stories, some only two or three pages long, but all of them stories that make you think.
I have to admit, I did not like all of them, but then there were others that I found myself realizing, after I read the last sentence, that there were deeper meanings and lessons to be gleaned. Others were just simply hysterical. So don’t dismiss the entire collection based on a handful that may not be your cup of tea.
The first story, “The Rematch,” is a present-day version of the children’s classic, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” which has the hare wanting a rematch of their famous race so that he can prove he can win, and showing what finally happens when the tortoise begrudgingly agrees.
A common theme throughout the book is Novak’s use of famous people, both dead and alive, in intriguing and envelope-pushing situations. No one is immune from inclusion in this collection, including world leaders, actors, singers, and writers.
From “The Comedy Central Roast of Nelson Mandela,” to “Johnny Depp, Fate and the Double-Decker Hollywood Tour Bus,” to “No One Goes to Heaven to See Dan Fogelberg,” which actually has more of an appearance by Frank Sinatra in it than the title singer, these stories will surprise you, catching you off guard in ways that no other book I’ve read has.
Another aspect of this book is that you can read it just about anywhere, even in places where you may only have a few minutes to spare, or when you simply want something quick to read to relax before dinner or bed because these stories are able to be read quickly.
Novak takes the everyday, the universal, the famous, and the idiosyncrasies of life and paints them with a self-deprecating, funny, unique, and sometimes bizarre brush that brings them down to an “every man’s” level and does so with surprising twists, turns, and angles that you won’t see coming or expect.