Eighteen sometimes-whimsical, sometimes-biting short fictions from the creator of Netflix’s Bojack Horseman.
This offbeat collection of bad romances will be a treat for fans of Bob-Waksberg’s animated cult comedy but also fits squarely into the type of wry humor practiced by peers like Amy Sedaris and Simon Rich. It opens with a disastrous date in “Salted Circus Cashews, Swear to God,” which uses both typography and tension to land its unresolved ending. There’s a dash of Welcome to Night Vale in a longer selection, “A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion,” in which the happy couple getting married must wrestle with how many goats to sacrifice. Elsewhere, we find an uncomfortable reunion in “These Are Facts,” a collection of mundane superheroes in “up-and-comers,” and a scathing satire of professional theater in “You Want to Know What Plays Are Like?” While the author’s longer prose is deft, his humor lands more squarely in pieces that might seem gimmicky—lists, riffs, and bitterly funny imagined scenarios. These include "short stories," which is made up of a list of premises such as “ 'You’re not like other girls,’ he said to every girl”; “Missed Connection—m4w,” in which “timeless romance” takes on a very different meaning; the deeply uncomfortable “Lies We Told Each Other (A Partial List),” which ends with “I love you too”; "Lunch with the Person Who Dumped You," a lurid choose-your-own-adventure scenario; and "Rules for Taboo," a deeply weird set of rules for a game of that name. Bob-Waksberg caps his collection with a theme park of dead presidents in “More of You That You Already Are,” strongly reminiscent of David Sedaris’ “Santaland Diaries,” and a chaser in “We Will Be Close on Friday 18 July,” which pushes existential angst into a simple grammar error.
While not pushing to the limits to which Bob-Waksberg is demonstrably capable, a savage sendup of love in all its dubious glory.