Greenpoint Press (2018)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (01/19)
Gerard Farrell’s “The Last Thunk” is a fast-paced, funny read on how the dog-eat-dog world of magazine publishing can consume your life while at the same time drive you to drink.
In the story, Mitch Blake, the publisher, has his goals set high to become the best magazine the publishing world has ever seen and pushes his staff to the edge. It is not beyond him to play staff member against staff member while also causing everyone to second guess his every move.
Paul Cavanaugh, who works in the marketing department and his longtime drinking buddy John, set out to be the best they can in their field. If only it weren’t for their out of control drinking. Paul is paranoid, over-thinking, and stressed as he worries about every little detail on the job and it consumes his life both in the office and with his family. To his wife, Paul comes across as obsessive-compulsive and neglectful of her and their son.
Eventually, Paul figures out he needs to find a new, less stressful job but his paranoia and drinking keeps him believing if he sticks around, he will land the perfect promotion. But the year 2000 isn’t a great time for the magazine world where office politics are toxic, profits are inflated, and egos are out of control. Paul finds himself in several drunken, sticky situations.
If one is not familiar with the inner workings of the publishing world, which I am not, one might be shocked at some of the behavior, especially the drinking during office hours. Having worked in a stressful, toxic office where a co-worker drank daily, I found that his drinking was ignored, women were treated as second-class citizens, one’s personal life didn’t matter, and I too, became a drinker. Luckily for me, I got out and made changes.
Farrell’s vivid descriptions of his characters are accurate, and one will find they know someone like them in everyday life. The pace of the storyline was easy to read and follow, and I wanted to shake Paul and tell him to grow up. Paul’s self-talk drove me crazy, yet I was very intrigued by his character.
Overall, I loved the inside look into the magazine world and would recommend “The Last Thunk” by Gerard Farrell if you like a funny, shocking and realistic read.