Thursday, March 27, 2008

After Hours at the Almost Home-Tara Yellen

After Hours at the Almost Home
Tara Yellen
Unbridled, Apr 2008, $14.95
ISBN: 9781932961485

JJ has relocated five times, but currently works as a cocktail waitress in Denver. Her first night at the Almost Home Bar and Grill, the place is packed as the Broncos are playing in the Superbowl. She struggles with customer orders as she finds the job overwhelming at least this first Sunday is; her hope is that this is an aberration caused by the football championship although the tips are excellent so she also hopes for more nights like this once she learns the job.

JJ also struggles to understand the employee dynamics that she knows is critical to her staying on this job a bit longer than her last six positions. She tries to comprehend the 360 degree relationships of each of her peers. For instance Widow Colleen has no place to leave her teenage daughter Lily so she takes her with her when she comes to the bar. Denny is ending a relationship while he and waitress Lena appear to be starting one as they huddle so cuddly together. Keith and bartender Marna plan to run away together.

This is an interesting character study that follows the employees and some of the regulars for one night, a special Superbowl evening, at the bar and grill. The story line switches perspective from the newcomer to the bartender, the teen and her mom, the male customer trying to sell a pick up to others. Though somewhat anecdotal, readers obtain a poignant look at how various people see their lives precariously through the football game in an intense one scene drama.

Harriet Klausner

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