Since time available for reading (and blogging, obviously) has been seriously cut back due to a longish driving commute, my progress on Then We Came to the End has been slow, slow, slow. I'm also now leaning toward disliking the book, which doesn't up my enthusiasm for getting to the ending.
Although some of it is acerbically funny, a whole lot more is depressing. Take Janine Gorjanc, whose daughter was kidnapped and later found murdered. To make matters worse, the missing child billboard erected during the search remains standing long after the body was found and serves as a constant, painful reminder. As a result of the trauma, Janine's marriage breaks up, her personal hygiene begins to slide, and she goes on several psychiatric medications. Since the main premise of the novel is built around office gossip, no one speaks to her directly about her problems. So, her cubicle's adornment with photos of the dead daughter and ex-husband become a source of discomfort to those around her, people whisper about her smell, and an unhappy co-worker steals her meds for himself.
For the most part, my issues with the book relate to the characters themselves. As the layoffs begin and progress, they become disfranchised admen who engage in over-the-top antics as rebellion. But since Ferris also offers a look into their sad home lives, jokes that might have seemed funny to me a moment earlier suddenly become tragic. I know too much about them to laugh at them and they never laugh at themselves with me (the reader) even though they spend plenty pages laughing at each other.
I'm going to try and suspend my final judgment on the book until the end because I've been told there's a payoff. I hope so.