Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Simon Rich, the second youngest writer ever on the Saturday Night Live writing staff, is a busy guy. At least, he seems like it when you take into account that while he was finishing up at Harvard he had a two year book contract, followed by contributions to The New Yorker, his SNL gig, three more books (two of which are novels) and now a job on Pixar’s writing staff. And yet, for a man that consistently busy, he manages to write crisp and clear comedy that evokes a young Woody Allen. (Which is an opinion that others have gone on record with as well.) His Allen-esque prowess has especially been showcased in his latest short story collection, The Last Girlfriend On Earth.
Divided into three sections: Boy Meets Girl, Boy Gets Girl, and Boy Loses Girl; the book proceeds to tell individual stories that throw the Sci-Fi/Fantasy kitchen sink into the mix. Notable stories include a slightly more perverted twist on a Seussian protagonist (Magical Mr. Fox), the “truth” behind couple’s counseling (Girlfriend Repair Shop), and that awkward moment when your ex-girlfriend shows up to a party dating none other than Adolf Hitler (Is It Just Me?). You can begin to see Rich’s sense of humor shine through in this limited sampling of stories, which range in length and emotional depth but all manage to bring in a good amount of laughs. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Mr. Rich has done what the film Movie 43 has supposedly failed to do with its four year development period and the assistance of multiple directors/writers: he’s created an anthology that manages to jump all over the spectrum of genres, yet somehow manage to stick the landing much more often than the aforementioned film could.
The Last Girlfriend on Earth is a short read that packs plenty of laughs into a short page span. Indeed, reading this kind of reminds the reader of watching Amazon Women on the Moon, as that film also mixed fantastical elements into everyday problems and issues that people could relate to. It will inspire readers to not only zoom through this book’s contents, but also to pick up Simon Rich’s other works, in the hopes that the laughter will never stop. Score one for smart/witty humor in the literary world. (And a minus 43 for the film of the same number.)
The Last Girlfriend On Earth is currently available in Hardcover from Reagan Arthur Books (in the U.S.) and in Paperback from Serpent’s Tail (in the U.K.)
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