Turning Tables by Heather & Rose MacDowell
Published on March 25, 2008
Genre: Chick Lit, Adult Fiction, Romance
Downsized from her boutique firm, Erin panics as she watches her career ambitions plunge into free fall. Why else would the savvy twenty-eight-year-old take a job as…a waitress? A favorable word from a family friend gets Erin in the door at Roulette, Madison Avenue’s newest exclusive haunt and home to a celebrity chef with a talent for cutting-edge cuisine and spotting the weakest link.
Life behind the apron is even worse than she imagined–from mangling orders to overimbibing at a wine seminar, Erin finds herself in hot water with the egomaniacal chef and the owner’s outrageous wife. And then there’s the dismissive, surly clientele, all but Daniel Fratelli, a flirtatious TV news producer. Is Daniel really as down-to-earth as he seems? Or will he eventually succumb to one of the many glamorous uptown girls in his own social circle?
Determined to prove that she won’t crack under pressure, Erin begins to master the art of waitressing–becoming part shrink, part slave, and part foie gras hustler. But her continuing series of disastrous missteps quickly sends her right back to the bottom of the food chain. Forced to prove her commitment by organizing the storage area and alphabetizing produce after hours, Erin wonders if she’ll ever make it back to the real world. But with a little help from her quirky best friend, she comes up with an idea that might take her life in a whole new direction–and that’s just the first course….
Turning Tables is one of those books that I’ve had on my bookshelf for literally 5 years. It’s one that I randomly found at the thrift store, saw it was about working in a restaurant, bought it and never picked it up again until a few days ago. I’m glad that I actually gave this book a chance because it was quite enjoyable. I’ve been working in the restaurant industry as a server for 8 years now and I can tell you that this book is spot on with it’s accuracy of what it’s like working at one. It’s tedious, exhausting and overwhelming. You have to deal with psychotic managers, angry chefs and irritable and nasty customers on a regular basis, yet keep a smile and a positive attitude on constantly.
In this novel, we meet employees of a high end restaurant, Roulette, in Manhattan. We follow our main character, Erin, through her journey of learning the ropes of serving, but also trying to get her life back together after losing her job at a big firm and the possibility of falling in love.
Though the dialogue was a little dry, I enjoyed just being in the environment of the high-end restaurant world. We were introduced to a variety of different characters, being employees, managers, family members and customers. My favorite character was definitely Cato, who worked and trained Erin at Cato. He absolutely made this book for me with his charm and humor. The head chef of Roulette, Carl Corbett, was without a doubt my least favorite character, but he was written to be that way. He has little redeeming qualities towards the end of the novel, but overall, he’s just a nasty guy with a horrible, egotistical personality.
How the relationships were played out in the novel didn’t work with me at all. I didn’t feel any connection towards Daniel, and even less so with Phil. I didn’t mind them as characters, though Phil was kind of a dick, but I didn’t like them as love interests. That part of the story line was a dud for me, which is okay.
I really enjoyed the accuracy and the atmosphere surrounding the novel. Erin was a decent main character to follow, and enjoyable side characters as well. It was a very fast paced book with constantly different scenarios going on. If you’re looking for a nice romance instead, I wouldn’t recommend this. However, I would definitely recommend this book for someone who has worked or is working in the service industry. Or honestly, just someone who enjoys reading about someone who is trying to build their life back up again.