Singer’s debut collection of vignettes about the lighter side of romantic breakups.
In these stories, often told with ribald humor, the author looks at relationships at various stages of disintegration and provides advice and commentary. The section titled “The Expiring Relationship” includes stories of suspicion and revenge; “Coming to Terms with the Breakup” contains stories about living in the past and recalling bad memories as good. “Healing” includes stories about re-entering the dating scene and rebuilding a life. A few of these tales are too brief, more scenario than story, and sometimes the commentaries are superior to the stories themselves. Several others lack satisfactory conclusions; some readers may get hooked only to be left hanging. There’s some funny stuff here, however, and some of Singer’s descriptions are original and picturesque: “[S]he was tired of apologizing for re-heated peas that were BB gun pellet hard, and fresh fish that became curled and hard like cheap linoleum,” and “Mia and Brandon’s fairytale marriage was now lying on its back, legs akimbo and kicking like an expiring housefly.” The book provides a wide range of stories of varying taste. In one, a cheating husband brings a pie home to his wife, claiming it was made by a friend. After they both eat it, he confesses that his girlfriend made it and asks his wife to clean the dish. She promptly vomits in it and hands it back to him. “Now,” she says, “you can bring the dish back to your girlfriend...and you can tell her I saved her some pie.” Other stories are less vulgar, and some are even touching. In one, a tough but fragile divorcé, still pining for his wife, grows fond of watching a hardworking spider in a birch tree; he even names her and credits her with giving him inspiration to rebuild his life. He feels a real loss when he finds her dead one evening, and he gently lifts her body from her web and takes her home. The collection’s irreverence may not be every reader’s cup of tea, and at times, its combination of short stories and self-help makes for an odd mix—Aesop’s Fables meets Erma Bombeck meets Sarah Silverman.
An ambitious but uneven story collection.