Trigger warning: This book (and review) deals with death, depression, suicide and anxiety.
Honestly, if you've ever been a waitress, BUY THIS BOOK. Before I got my job at BuzzFeed, I worked in hospitality for roughly eight years. I worked as a waitress, a bar tender, in events and by the end of it, I was one of the floor managers at The Potting Shed at the Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney.
I kid you not, I Googled the author after I'd finished the book to make sure some of the characters weren't based off people I used to work with — the characters were just that spot on.
The Morbids tells the story of Caitlin, who is convinced that she's going to die. Every Tuesday she meets with a group of people who are all affected by death anxiety. For a while, Caitlin is able to cope by distracting herself with work, drinking and walking extremely long distances home to tire herself out before bed. But, she can't keep it up forever.
I immediately connected with this novel. One, because the author paints the hospitality life so perfectly and two, during the pandemic, the subject of death has been more prevalent to me.
Ramsey manages to capture the ins and outs of hospitality. I've been where Caitlin has been, where my mind is simply a lists of next tasks, where my body seems to dance to the rhythm of dockets spitting out of the machine and I no longer have to think — I just need to trust my body to do what it does best. I've never been able to describe it to someone who hasn't worked for a long time in hospitality.
I've also been where Caitlin has been, tired from too many nights out with the staff after work, the sense that you're drowning in the never-ending rotation of new staff, the realisation that you're not who you used to be and the friendships that you lose along the way with your weird shift hours.
The death anxiety is a new concept for me and one that keeps the book moving. While I may not have given it thought before 2020, I sometimes catch myself wondering what would happen if I caught COVID-19, if I died, or if someone close to me did.