Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Saïd Sayrafiesadeh’s “Appetite” was originally published in the March 1, 2010 issue of The New Yorker.
Last night I read this short story on the way home from work. I have indicated elsewhere that I am not a February person. With all the false starts to Spring, I start to get cranky! Surprisingly, that worked for this story — at least somewhat.
First, I liked the way the story opened. The narrator is nervously trying to figure out how to ask for a raise. We know it’s not a great job because he wants a raise from $8 to $10 (or to $10 from $8, or up to $10, etc.). It’s nothing new, but I felt the writing didn’t get in the way, and, as I said above, February may have affected me: either I sympathized with the poor guy, or I liked watching him squirm.
Turns out the narrator is on a dead-end job at a cheap restaurant, the kind where you might get a grilled cheese sandwich that is burned on the outside but where the cheese is not melted. He’s 25 and resents the high school valedictorian who said something along these lines: “some of us will go to college, some of us to the military, and some of us will immediately join the work force.”
The story takes on a new dimension about halfway through when an annorexic girl joins the workforce at the restaurant as a new waiter. I’m not sure I followed all that comes after, and, sadly, I didn’t really care to put forth the work necessary to follow the story. And I don’t think it was February because the story had already been at least somewhat enjoyable. That’s not to say it was a complete failure — I’m just going to tack this one up as a below par week but not an out-and-out stinker.