Erin Edwards is in a bind. She’s lost her marketing manager job and doesn’t really know how she’s going to pay her bills in expensive New York City. Luckily, a family friend comes through with her, getting her a temporary gig while she’s looking for another job in marketing. The only problem: the job is waiting tables at upscale NYC restaurant Roulette. Erin hasn’t waited tables since college; even then, it wasn’t even close to the level of Roulette, which is one of the top restaurants in the city.
Erin’s introduction to the world of waiting tables is pretty much disastrous. It’s clear to the waiter who’s supposed to be training her that she doesn’t have the experience she claims to. The head chef hates her for no reason at first glance, the owners are pretty much insane, and the customers are incredibly picky and demanding. Topping all that off, Erin feels like it’s beneath her to be waiting tables and ashamed of what she has had to resort to in order to pay the bills. What Erin doesn’t know is that working at Roulette will change her in more ways than she realizes.
Turning Tables is a fascinating look at the world of the waitstaff. Sibling authors Heather and Rose MacDowell have both worked in the fine dining world, and as a result of their experiences, Erin’s misadventures are completely fascinating - crazy enough to make the book interesting and keep the reader hooked, yet not so ridiculous as to be unbelievable. The MacDowell sisters do a great job keeping the book balanced. It’s a novel about Erin and her personal growth. The tables are just the icing on the cake.
Erin undergoes a great deal of personal growth through Turning Tables. She goes from being contemptuous of the profession (though not of others who wait tables – she just thinks it’s beneath her to do so) to making friends with a lot of waiters. She is also treated with contempt by others because she is a waitress. Additionally, she has issues to deal with in her personal life, though they aren’t fully fleshed out. It seems like the authors threw in some side-plots about a dog in order to develop the character more and show the reader that Erin really has a full life. They’re unnecessary, though – the real interest lies in Erin when she’s working at the restaurant.
If you’ve ever worked in the food service industry, especially as a waiter or waitress, you’ll probably find a lot of truth in Turning Tables. Even if you haven’t, this is still a delicious read. And you’ll never think of your waiter or waitress in the same way again!