Pierre is a bartender, a sweet man who has almost reached the age at which he could retire. He loves what he does, it is what he lives for and how he breathes. This book humble, yet so triumphant and full of life at the same time! It is very real, no huge ups and downs, no drum rolls, no brass bands. It is just what the author Dominique Fabre has intended: plain, simple, beautiful. He aims to share the life of a person on the margins, or someone that would not usually be interesting enough to write about, someone who you may not even notice. For some reason it feels like he could have chosen me or you in choosing Pierre, it is a person that is not worthy, and yet he never says that he is. It's pureness is very attractive. The Waitress Was New drives the reader a desire to know this raw individual, Pierre. To learn more about him and his situation, and what will become of him in the end. The novel is human, and real and is not full of dramatic effect moments or overly sentimental junk. It is a story of a regular bartender, in a regular place, doing regular things. It is the way that Fabre conveys it all that is interesting...you dive down deep and come up with your fists full, and at the end of this novel he leaves you wishing for more, but knowing at the same time that it was the way it should be.
For the full 117 pages I was engulfed in reading this book it is so full of heart and personality. I am always more interested in the books that are about people that seem real to me and this is definitely one of those. It is about people-watching, living, loving, dying, old age, changes and sticking through it. I loved it. Here are some quotes for you that I thought were really great:
"I'm a fixture around here, people realize that. I served a few beers, brought the school kids their coffee, two coffees plus three glasses of water, and the girl greeted me with a peck on the cheek" (p. 16).
"I don't look outside too much because everything that matters to me in life always ends up sitting down at my bar, but just then I had a feeling, and I looked out toward the street. Yes, it was going to rain" (p. 22).
" I get off at seven but I'm never a stickler about leaving on time, what have I got to do at home? I'm just a barman, and the longer I stay on the more life goes by in the best possible way. So there we are" (p. 38).
"They come and go, for the most part. Let the world turn around us, beyond our spotless bars, in the end every day will be carefully wiped away to make room for the next. That's why I make myself watch the late-night news on Channel 3, you can't just forget everything, after all" (p. 98).