A collection of short, tight stories about love and consequences.
The stories in the latest (Elliot Allagash, 2010, etc.) from Rich, whose writing credits include Saturday Night Live, follow the vagaries of love, and while the stories are smooth, the path is decidedly not. The 31 stories are divided into three sections: “Boy Meets Girl,” “Boy Gets Girl” and “Boy Loses Girl.” While most can be a little tart, Rich takes a sweeter approach with some. The opener, “Unprotected,” follows the misadventures of a well-worn but still sealed condom. “Occupy Jen’s Street” follows the rise and fall of a very personal protest movement to get a girl back. “Scared Straight” parodies the 1970s documentary with equally dire warnings about relationships: “A random hookup, a couple of dates. The next thing I knew, I had a drawer for her clothes in my apartment. Then one day, I looked up and I was here. Trapped in a Park Slope brownstone for the rest of my goddamn life.” Like Rich’s second novel, What In God’s Name (2012), some stories wring the funny out of the plights of deities, while “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” colors the old novelty song in a darker shade. While some of the stories have the qualities of a comedy sketch—Alex Trebek gets to rib his ex-wife in one story, and an astronaut suggests a bawdy science experiment in another—those who enjoy the author's fleeting, warmly acerbic sense of humor will find much to like here.
Now we know what happens to all those SNL sketches that Lorne Michaels shoots down.