We are introduced to a creative team at a Chicago advertising agency who are all trying to look busy so they won't be the ones who fall victim to layoffs. The characters seem familiar to anyone who has toiled in an office - the practical joker Tom, the shy but sweet Benny who is in love with the loud-mouthed Marcia, the trendy overachiever Karen Woo, the depressed Janine, hysterical Chris Yop, loner Joe, Amber and Larry engaged in a "secret" office affair and Lynn, the boss who everyone is scared of, who becomes the heart of the story.
As business becomes worse, characters start getting fired, though the story is not always told in linear fashion, but rather the circular storytelling of office gossip. There are incidents that are hilarious (one involving a office chair), puzzling (such as old Brizz leaving Benny a massive totem pole in his will), disturbing (a certain office visit by Tom after he is let go), and sad (the death of a child, breast cancer) - all told in that breathy "Have you heard about..." tone so prevalent around the water cooler.
I really enjoyed reading this debut novel (there are even some fun ad campaigns interspersed) and look forward to more from Ferris.