One More Thing contains many things. Seriously. It’s a collection of vignettes and short stories that range from poignant examinations of contemporary society to posh pieces that are fitting for a Harvard grad. Sprinkled with fun characters and a spectrum of humor, you’re bound to find at least a handful of these narratives hilarious or thought-provoking..
That said, there is a temptation to dismiss some of the shorter pieces. Depending on your taste, they can be hit-or-miss. Not a fan of absurdism? You might gloss over the bizarre one-pagers. Out of tune with pop culture? Then you won’t understand why Wikipedia Brown is so bent on vomiting information. A rematch between the tortoise and the hare? Arguably predictable.
In my opinion, two of the most noteworthy stories are “Sophia” and “Kellogg’s (or: The Last Wholesome Fantasy of the Middle-School Boy)”, both longer works that showcase Novak’s strength as a comedic writer and storyteller. Between the sex robot seeking a human connection and the boy who wins a cereal sweepstakes, Novak is able to craft wholesome worlds and expose the situational humor within them.
One More Thing can seem disjointed at times, especially when transitioning between stories. There is some synergy between a few of the shorts with characters appearing in each other’s narratives, but occasionally, the running order can fall flat and break a reading stride.
Overall, Novak is very playful in his approach, and a sense of whimsy touches each of his stories. I would definitely recommend the book to anyone who enjoys observational comedy or reflecting on society’s oddities. Just have fun with it. You’re bound to find something.
A FEW NOTES:
- I now understand and appreciate why Tina Fey says that Harvard Nerds and Chicago Improvisers make beautiful comedy marriages.
- There are discussion questions in this book. I like discussion questions. Especially ironic discussion questions.
- "The Best Thing in the World Awards" is a personal favorite. There's the truth that Neil Patrick Harris would probably host an award show with this name, but the better point is that BJ Novak gave me a shout out! He writes, "A man named Louie performed some standup comedy, but there wasn't too much he could say on network television." Clearly this is about me. Without a shadow of a doubt. Too bad my standup SUCKS.
- For the record, Edith Grossman’s translation of Don Quixote is way better than John Rutherford’s. How dare you.