Oh my God, where to start with this to keep it from sounding like a train wreck? Because it is NOT a train wreck!
Simon Rich has produced an extremely odd collection of short short stories. They're all extremely short--in the neighborhood of 5ish pages, maybe? I'm not actually counting because I'm not really a "numbers person," but they are REALLY short.
Simon Rich started his career as a writer for SNL (don't run screaming yet!) and now he is a writer for Pixar. He's a young guy, and these stories are smart, hip, not too self-aware, and totally snarky and satirical. They take the troubles men and women navigate in relationships and blow them up to ridiculous and hilarious proportions.
For example, in the story, "Occupy Jen's Street" a young college guy feels like he's gone to the end of the Earth and back to impress and woo a girl he likes. She doesn't really give him the time of day, and in a take-off of Occupy Wall Street, he occupies Jen's street. It's clever and funny, and by the time it all winds down, poignant.
One of my favorite stories was the very first story in the collection, "Unprotected." An unused condom rides around in a young man's wallet for years. The condom details his relationships with ID cards and slips of paper that come and go from the wallet. In addition to his hopes and aspirations. He's a reservist condom -- no active duty for him. The way he's "retired" was sweet and sentimental. Something I did not expect from a story narrated by a prophylactic.
The book is split into three sections: Boy Meets Girl, Boy Gets Girl, Boy Loses Girl. So we have the varying stages of relationships and all the jacked up problems that could possibly happen made wonky and ridiculous and awesome by the deft hand of Simon Rich.
I don't read many overtly funny books, and I don't really seek them out because I'd rather be battered about the heart by an author's writing than made to giggle. But I am so glad I gave this one a shot. I didn't really know much about it, and I was absolutely thrilled with it. So clever. If you need a solid slump buster, go ahead and add this one to your arsenal. It'll come in handy. I actually found myself laying it aside to make it last longer.
If you're not convinced, hear what Josh from Brews and Books and The Bookrageous Podcast had to say about this one.
Pub. Date: January 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: ARC gifted from a friend
This video review is actually The Last Girlfriend on Earth and a sneak peek at my thoughts on Simon Van Booy's The Illusion of Separateness.