I finished my pick for a book with an animal in the title for Annie's What's in a Name Challenge. I read the Last Night at the Lobster by Stuart O'Nan.
This book takes place during that last day in the life of a Red Lobster restaurant. Due to poor numbers and low profit, headquarters is closing the restaurant and the manager, Manny, must hold things together for one more day. With some employees not showing up, others walking out early, a blizzard keeping most customers away and a bus full of food-poisoned tourists looking for a bathroom, Manny faces an interesting last shift. Stuart O'Nan does a great job of capturing the mixed emotions of being a working class grunt at the mercy of a corporation and the pride in a job well done. For anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant, the familiarity of rules and regulations, co-worker relationships, food prep and customers that don't tip is laugh-out-loud funny.
This was a good (and pretty short) book that was both inspiring and sad. As the doors close for the last time and the employees walk away to find somewhere to start over, I couldn't help but feel strangely sorry for the fictional characters that represent so many in the real world.