The MezzanineIn college we did some pretty nerdy stuff. For instance, we named all of the rooms in our fraternity based on that semester’s occupants and the general personality of the room itself. My room one semester, for example, was named “room with a Jew.” It was named as such because I am, in fact, a Jew, and because we had a nice big window that overlooked a park of sorts, as well as a nice sorority house. There was another room called “stairway to boredom” because some felt its occupants were quiet and, well, boring. That paired with the fact one obnoxious p.o.s. brother had installed a spiral staircase going up to one of the lofts at some point cemented this as one of the best names ever. That’s a long way to go to explain that if this book were to be named in such a manner, it would be called “escalator to boredom.” Seriously, the guy talks about his damn shoelaces for 144 pages. The gimmick here (and it is no doubt a gimmick) is that we get to peek into an ordinary guy’s mind on his escalator ride up to his corporate office. I would rather perform bowel surgery on a hemophiliac walrus. I thought that his mundane b.s. was going to have subtext or Zen leanings, or any tinge of mystery, but we seriously get to hear about the guy ruminating on such fascinating topics as paper towels, bendy straws and milk cartons. It’s like a really unfunny episode of Seinfeld. You know, “what’s the deal with carbonation!?” I sat aghast that this could be considered literature. It’s like the precursor to lonely cat-lady blogs, but with no affection for anything or anyone. I suppose the gimmick novel is a genre unto itself, but I’ve seen it pulled off in other instances with so much more conviction and effort that this thing just feels embarrassing. And the balls to charge full price for what should technically be classified a novella!