Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory

i snatched this arc up because Raphael Bob Waksberg is the creator of bojack horseman i like my entertainment to be on the sadder side of the emotional spectrum and bojack is the saddest show on television do not come at me waving your this is usmillion little things banners because you’re not winning this one between the writing the vocal talents and whatever the tragic analogue to comedic timing is bojack's got the trophy for 'saddest' sewn up and i know it takes several villages to create a teevee show and sometimes their creators’ll create a thing and then wander off to go create another thing leaving the showrunners in charge of all that follows but i was confident that this guy's sensibilities would make for some short stories that would kick me in my feelingpartsand i was not disappointedno wait actually at first i WAS disappointed here’s the thing my looking back sense of this book as a whole is very positive however the second half of the collection was stronger than the first and it took me a while to start digging it i am telling you this because i always feel compelled to review short story collections piece by piece because my life is full of poor time management decisions so if you are reading this because YOUR life is full of poor time management decisions you may read my mini reviews of the early stories and too hastily conclude “oh so this is a collection of meh stories” but you would be as wrong in thinking this as you would be in thinking that this is us compares to a bojack in terms of its searing heartblistering devastation ie very wrong so to beginthe first two are pretty much throwaway pieces not that they aren't enjoyable but they are very brief 2 pages nonstoriesSalted Circus Cashews Swear to God ★★★★☆this isn't really a story so much as it is a thematic introduction; the risk v reward of romantic relationships factor heavily in this collection in which vulnerability is a recurring factor love is one of those trust falls that will most certainly make a fool out of you but what if comes the whisper the slick devil persuasion what if it’s different this time?the symbolism is kind of fucking genius using the olde snake in a can gag to invoke those tremulous ‘once bitten twice shy’ beginning stages of any relationship; all the promises This time there is no snake waiting but there’s also an insidious underlayer of salesmanship to the pitch a “you know you want to” invitation to open that can that invokes a different snake the one whose persuasive talents led to that very first couple’s very first discord and therefore responsible for every breakup ever all in under 2 pages so will you or won’t you? do you dare? SIDENOTE i also really like the playfulness with fonts that occurs in this story and several others throughout the collection it’s weird and wonky and funshort stories ★★★★☆a series of ten what to call these? too long to be epigrams not didactic enough to be aphorisms too interconnected to be flash fiction too bleak to be greeting cards let's call them bojack outtakes because this 7 I don't even think about you he couldn't wait to tell her just as soon as she called him backcalls to mind the sulking huff of a very drunk horse and 6 I never thought I could be this happy she imagined one day saying to someonegives me the same sobbing heart feelings as most of princess caroline’s storylinesokay and now the real stories begin i very much liked those first two pieces but they were too short to really stick in my reader craw i spent much time writing those words and looking for those pictures just now than i did reading the stories in the first place once again proving that all my time management decisions are bad ones no picturesA Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion★★★☆☆unfortunately this one didn't wow me it’s a fine story but as the first long piece in the book i needed a bigger hook to land me it's a solid three star; it's well constructed and the lampooning of wedding culture is probably really enjoyable for readers who have gone through the experience themselves or have been to than two weddings in the past 15 years it just didn't inspire any strong feelings in me one way or another even though i do appreciate all the splattery goat slaughter parts is it weird that i relate to that than i relate to a wedding ceremony? should i bother unpacking that or would that be another one of those wastes of time? self scrutiny always a waste moving on Missed Connections m4w★★★☆☆i promise you my feelings for this book WILL skew positive just not yet this one seemed like another little throwaway piece and in fact it originally appeared on craigslist in the missed connections section coming across it there i think i would have been delighted its placement here at the start of what is already a fairly shaky collection is less so it's a cute modern prufrockian urban love story about a love that coulda been but again it’s very brief a full FOUR pages this time and i haven't been landed yet but i’m going to be landed you’ll see The Serial Monogamist's Guide to Important New York City Landmarks ★★★☆☆okay it’s not this one but again this is a good story it’s sweet and nostalgic and perfectly fine and relatable especially for someone who has lived and loved all over NYFC and understands perfectly how many places are past haunted and inspire flashback montages of happy and crappy romances it just didn’t give me anything i hadn’t encountered elsewhere in my reading life decent story no fireworksWe Men of Science★★★☆☆this is the one i liked the least i know so far this review is a drag but right now we are only on page 45 and there are than 200 pages to go and soon you’ll forget all about these iffy ones just like i did this one has fun doodles including CATS but it’s also a sci fi lite story with alternate realities and i guess multiple ways to screw up your relationships perfectly acceptable as a story just not my thing you will probably like it than i did because we are different people however this one does have one of the most bojack y ruminations Perhaps a better me would have done the right thing and left or a worse me wouldn’t have worried about it just indulged in the transgression but I am only as good as I am and I could only do what the person as good as I am could doA statue isn't built from the ground up—it's chiseled out of a block of marble—and I often wonder if we aren't likewise shaped by the ualities we lack outlined by the empty space where the marble used to be I'll be sitting on a train I'll be lying awake in bed I'll be watching a movie; I'll be laughing And then all of a sudden I'll be struck by the paralyzing truth It's not what we do that makes us who we are It's what we don't do that defines us Lies We Told Each Other a partial list ★★★★☆a bitterbleak comedy in outline form bullet pointing a couple’s relationship arc—all the empty reassurances promises self delusions and gaslighting that goes into maintaining a healthy modern relationship another brief one but it’s astute and funny plus it gets points for successfully suggesting the entire body of a relationship using only these skeletal snippets These Are Facts ★★★★☆i don’t know what the hell i think about this one this is the problem with reviewing each and every story when NOBODY ASKED YOU TO on the one hand i’m interested enough in the characters and the situation to want to read like i think i could read a whole novel with these characters or maybe a salinger style story cycle on the other hand isn’t that supposed to be one of the hallmarks of a “good” short story that it leaves you wanting ? WWRCD in which RC is raymond carver duh i don’t know i still feel like a short story dummy in many ways as far as what they are “supposed” to “do” and what i as a reader am meant to “get” out of them i liked a lot of moments in this story i folded over a few pages because of an especially lovely turn of phrase or insight but i’m not sure what if anything it left me with for a story that ends with the words Yeah I know i really really don’t Lunch with the Person Who Dumped You ★★★★☆another little bitty comedic interlude of a story it’s that thing when you’re meeting someone for dinner but you’re hungry NOW and you shove whatever’s handy into your face to tide you over and it’s not that you don’t enjoy the eating of it but you’re really ready for dinner to happenRUFUS ★★★★★this is dinner happening this is the story that started turning it around for me fun fact i don't usually love dog voiced stories but this one made me smile and got me all soft in the heart in a book filled with love stories this one about the waxing and waning of a human romance seen through the fuzzy filter of doggy understanding this is the one that got me a little choked upManMonster scratches my back and he makes a noise like Rufus rufus rufus And I know that noise Rufus can mean many things Sometimes Rufus means I am happy to see you and sometimes it means I am upset and this time I discern that it means both things at oncehe is GoodogRules for Taboo ★★★★☆another tiny 3 page story but coming as it did after a GREAT story i was pleasantly disposed towards it on the one hand this story is an instruction booklet for how to play the board game taboo on the other hand it's an instruction booklet for why couples shouldn't play games in mixed company that encourage the sharing of personal history because what begins as an innocent night of fun can uickly turn into an airing of grievances and too much insight into a relationship's stress fractures also title sighting Up and Comers ★★★★★this one is the one my favorite it has so much energy and is so much fun it’s one of the longest ones in the collection it might even be the longest it’s either this or the penultimate story but i REFUSE to do any mathresearch into the matter because i am LEARNING how to be judicious about my time expenditures have you even NOTICED the lack of pictures? if you know me you might think it is strange that my favorite story in this collection is about the exploits of a rock band who are also superheroes i know me and i think it is strange but it is about the very small and ordinary human things that are happening underneath all the flash and glamor of being in a rock band and being superheroes and it is deeply moving and sweet in its most uietly uneventful moments and it got me all over this isn’t true spoiler but it is a maybe spoiler to someone because it is the end of the story it doesn’t you know reveal the name of the murderer or anything also spoiler alert there isn’t a murdereri just liked it so i typed itview spoiler I remember one time I asked Iris if she was afraid to die This was when we were trapped in the Man Pig Pit of Dimension K and it really looked like we might not make it home Iris said afraid or not it didn't really matter That the thing about death is that it's terrifying and overwhelming and it can happen at any moment And when we're confronted with death we can either be cowardly or we can be brave but either way we're going to die soAnd I thought Whoa that's darkBut here I was sitting in my childhood bedroom with a guitar The Up and comers were over and done with and it was just Lizzy and me and it was the afternoon and it was summer in Tulsa and Lizzy was lying on my bed looking as calm and beautiful as I had ever seen her and she was asking me to play her something I had writtenAnd I thought about how actually if you wanted to you could say the same thing about life That life is terrifying and overwhelming and it can happen at any moment And when you're confronted with life you can either be cowardly or you can be brave but either way you're going to liveSo you might as well be brave hide spoiler I read an Atlantic article about this book and it was laudatory enough to make me think about reading this collection I then saw the author in person at a publicity event Raphael Bob Waksberg came across as emotionally intelligent and funny and peers of his Jonny Sun and others lauded him too so I bought the book Perhaps my expectations for this particular book were too high in his publicity event Bob Waksberg talked confidently if sarcastically about how he was a good writer And I'd already read a lot of nice things about it Perhaps also my standards are too high I love short stories and I read a lot of them I particularly love Keret Kishon and Murakami's various collections of shorts Regardless I was surprised that this book was largely terrible I'm sorry to say it because Bob Waksberg really came off as a nice person But most of the stories in this collection are trite over contrived and cliche Bob Waksberg uses over detailed absurdity in some of the short stories in the first two stories it was funny But he did it in short story after short story making it an annoying hack a cheap trick to replace substance To his credit Bob Waksberg is creative; a lot of the story ideas are inventive and fun But his execution of these ideas is mediocre and uncompelling People have lauded his book as emotionally resonant but I personally don't find this to be true at least not compared with masters of subtle emotional evocativeness like Keret and Murakami In terms of comedy I guess I have also been spoiled by the causal satirical brilliance of Kishon I am surprised this book has had such a good reception thus far and I am honestly confused by it For readers yearning for what this book in those many positive reviews claims to be I suggest reading one of the three guys I mentioned above Keret's stories accurately depict emotions that cannot easily be said while Bob Waksberg's leave me disappointed A series of fast paced absurdist tales Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory is the debut collection of Bojack creator Raphael Bob Waksberg and it shares many features with the series from surrealist plots to fits of existential angst A couple frets over whether or not to obey grotesue archaic rituals as they prepare for their wedding in one story; in another a group of musicians find themselves suddenly stuck with superpowers that bring only grief to their lives Unlike Bojack nothing here’s especially memorable but the audiobook performances are strong and the collection makes for easy listening When I heard the creator of BoJack Horseman had published a book I knew three things for certain1 I had to read it2 It would destroy me3 I would love itNow I will confess that I also initially had some reservations Obviously Raphael Bob Waksberg writes well for television BoJack Horseman is a brilliant show that makes you cackle with laughter but also brings you to tears for me those tears are figurative but some of my friends have literally sobbed over it so yeah it gets heavy Could his signature wit translate just as well to the page? Would the monologues and ruminations that make BoJack so compelling fall flat when not spoken aloud by an anthropomorphic horse in Will Arnett’s voice?I needn’t have worried This is an absolute gem and just in time for the end of the year it has skated onto my list of best reads of 2019 Actually it’s of a fancy necklace made up entirely of stories that are polished gems in and of themselves By turns side splitting and gut wrenching Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory is a kaleidoscopic view of love in all its forms fractals and colors shifting from dating to marriage friendship to family joy to despair Though thematically unified the individual stories never feel repetitive or redundant each taking a slightly different take on what it means to love in this day and age though not necessarily always in this worldThe writing here is top notch and the author really shows off his linguistic virtuosity here in a way that a single novel or even a single TV show could His characters range from teens to adults and one dog and while many stories are in the typical first or third person Bob Waksberg also takes some stylistic risks with multiple stories told in second person either as narratives or as imperatives as well as some lists and a poem I was thoroughly impressed at how easily he was able to shift to different tones and voices for his varied characters even going so far as to alter his page alignment justified or not in certain sections or to choose when sentences would ramble and when to make them elegant He casually buries philosophical brilliance in paragraphs of sarcastic sniping but it always feels entirely fitting not jarring or pretentious It justworksBy way of summary let’s just say that this book includes Practical jokes Depressing reflections Goat sacrifices ManMonster A literal game of Taboo Bad choices Spooky hexagons Lots of fun playing with font style and size on chapter titles Parallel dimensions Greeting cards Awkward dates “SPIN THAT WHEEL” A Frankenstein esue monster that is a genetically reconstructed hybrid of the first ten US presidents all rolled into oneand so much The rest of this review for the sake of my sanity and yours alike will be a rundown of the individual stories followed by a lengthy section of my favorite uotes from the book because I flagged uite a few of them and I think they might give you a better idea of what actually happens in this one With all that saidlet’s go THE STORIES Salted Circus Cashews Swear to God – a short but oddly brilliant reflection on the difficulty and complexity of trusting someone when entering a new relationshiptold through the metaphor of a can of cashews that may or may not have a spring snake toy inside This was a perfect start to the collection and basically dissolved any uncertainty I felt about whether this would be a good readshort stories – vignettes that point out all the inherent contradictions in the complex world of love and dating For example 3 “You’re not like other girls'” he said to every girlA Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion – a hilarious hyperbolic satire of wedding culture complete with goat sacrifices and a Shrieking ChorusMissed Connection–m4w – a trippy sad sort of story about hesitating to act and the possible painful results thereofThe Serial Monogamist’s Guide to Important New York City Landmarks – meditative very real exploration of the way that the longer you stay in a place the you come to associate specific memories especially negative ones with specific locations leaving ghosts on every streetWe Men of Science – sci fi parallel universes and a billion ways to screw up your own life when you start to make assumptions about “your” world and the other lives you intersect withLies We Told Each Other a partial list – a sketch of a relationship from beginning to painful end rendered in single brushstroke phrases that paint a sparse yet totally specific picture of the way things can deteriorate over timeThese Are Facts – probably the one I liked least in the collection following a teenage girl’s reunion with her estranged half brother on a family vacation I liked the writing but the story itself didn’t hook me uite enoughLunch with the Person Who Dumped You – a short fun take on what to do when you have that awkward reuest for a reunion lunch and how to navigate every possible outcome The flippant gameshow like narration lets this one really singRufus – oh my god this story both broke and warmed my heart It’s told entirely through a dog’s point of view as he sees his owner enter and fall out of a relationshipand how his unflinching loyalty makes him unmistakably GoodogRules for Taboo – when game night is both a literal poor choice and a metaphor for poor real life choicesUp and Comers – superheroes in a band lots of drinking dysfunctional friendships poor relationship choicesin other words a bizarre and fascinating story that takes a totally absurd premise to explore a wide variety of important ideasMove across the country – or how sadness and poor choices will continue to follow you no matter how far you goYou Want to Know What Plays Are Like? – my other favorite this blurs together expectations about theater and how difficult parts of family history can’t be escaped in art or in real lifethe poem – okay I’ve read and written a lot of poetry but I’ve got to say the rhyming and meter and inflection in this piece are among the best I’ve read in a very long time Not ever but contemporary poets seem to struggle with this so you know I'm impressed And on top of it this wacky poem manages to tell an entire story as well in a sort of sing song that even further heightens the storyThe Average of All Possible Things – when an average girl with an average life and an average job has a rough breakup but admitting things aren’t uite average is a little too hardMore of the You That You Already Are – another case of the absurd premise with serious underpinnings a guy who plays Chester A Arthur at a theme park based on US presidents whose park is being taken over by some misguided scientists but who also has a sister with cancer who he cares very deeply aboutWe will be close on Friday 18 July – takes a typo on a sign and turns it into a sort of wistful musing on what could have been A fittingly melancholy conclusion to this collection FAVORITE UOTES “A statue isn’t built from the ground up–it’s chiseled out of a block of marble–and I often wonder if we aren’t likewise shaped by the ualities we lack outlined by the empty space where the marble used to be I’ll be sitting on a train I’ll be lying awake in bed I’ll be watching a movie; I’ll be laughing And then all of a sudden I’ll be struck by the paralyzing truth It’s not what we do that makes us who we are It’s what we don’t do that defines us”“You did it kind of as a joke and kind of for real the way eighteen year olds do everything”“FACT The things that are the most important aren’t shared; they are important only to usNo one can ever really understand the tangle of experiences and passions that make you who you are It’s a secret collection a private language a pebble in your pocket that you play with when you’re anxious hard as geometry smooth as soap”“‘Fine’ she said ‘Enjoy your fucking married life with your fucking husband and your fucking house in the fucking suburbs with your fucking white fucking picket fucking fence fucking fucking'”“I loved Mutt in that way that you love something when you’re at a place in your life when you’re ready to love something and there’s a thing there that you can love”“If ends are encoded in every beginning we wonder then what is the point?”“One night at a bar you pick up a hobby of a person that somehow grows into a habit–a person whose flaws sparkle off yours in glorious coruscating patterns; a person who gets to know not just the you you sometimes show but the you you truly are; a person who–when you weren’t looking–slipped a naked wounded heart into the pocket of your jacket with a bow and a note that said ‘handle with care'”“It turns out making an asshole a president just means you end up with an asshole president Probably could’ve guessed that–being president doesn’t change you not really; it just brings out of the you that you already are”“He used to call her a koala because of the way she wrapped herself around him in bed like a koala on a branch She had wrapped her whole life around him like a koala on a branch And now the branch was gone and Lucinda had to deal with the fact that her life was now wrapped around nothing–which of course was all perfectly normal All the pain Lucinda now felt was normal The emptiness was normal The harsh incinerating b boring awful raw barren obsessive numb five hundred volt nothingness now completely consuming her was so totally average”“A poem’s a thing that is hard to pin down though the words pile up in your headA person’s a thing that is tricky to read but it’s trickier yet to feel read”Tl;dr – shut up drop what you’re doing and read this book right nowIt’s just that good If you’re single and content if you’re stressed about dating if you’re in a happy relationship if you’re struggling with family issues if you love dogsthis book has something relatable for everyone no matter how happy or sad or loveless or in love you are Just go ahead and dive in And don't forget to have some tissues on hand From the creator and executive producer of the beloved and universally acclaimed television series BoJack Horseman a fabulously off beat collection of short stories about love the best and worst thing in the universeWritten with all the scathing dark humor that is a hallmark of BoJack Horseman Raphael Bob Waksberg's stories will make readers laugh weep and shiver in uncomfortably delicious recognition In A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion a young couple planning a wedding is forced to deal with interfering relatives dictating the appropriate number of ritual goat sacrifices Missed Connection m4w is the tragicomic tale of a pair of lonely commuters eternally failing to make that longed for contact The members of a rock band in Up and Comers discover they suddenly have superpowers but only when they're drunk And in The Serial Monogamist's Guide to Important New York City Landmarks a woman maps her history of romantic failures based on the places she and her significant others visited togetherEually at home with the surreal and the painfully relatable or both at once Bob Waksberg delivers a killer combination of humor romance whimsy cultural commentary and crushing emotional vulnerability The resulting collection is a punchy perfect bloody valentine Spectacular Bob Waksberg debuts with a delightfully strange and darkly funny collection While reading love stories about drunk superheroes sacrificial weddings inverted universes and theme parks of dead presidents a lump caught in my throat a smile crept across my face and I gasped I know exactly what that feels like After hearing great things about this book from Karen and then seeing it on the longlist for the Tournament of Books I decided to try this one in audio It was a great decision what a fun read I even liked the satire a rarity for me Different actors read different stories sometimes in teamsMy favoritesMost Blessed and Auspicious Occasion read by Raúl Esparza We Men of Science read by James Urbaniak Rufus read by Baron Vaughn Rules for Taboo read by Will Brill and Emma Galvin I was going to give this 4 stars but after looking at the back cover and seeing that BOTH Grandma Waksberg AND Nana Bob blurbed it so positively how could I not bump it up to 5? The title is such a perfect introduction to the stories it's like a little note of encouragement to all the characters in the book not to give up on love no matter what I even like the cutely weird cover a tickled pink background and some little 18th century guy George Washington? George III? Samuel Johnson? holding a sign with the title written in Donald J Trump sharpieThe stories are clever and fun but always with lots of heart and sometimes with some lovely writing You have friends now a routine a coffee shop where someone as you saunter in smiles and says The usual? One night at a bar late you pick up a hobby of a person that somehow grows into a habit a person whose flaws sparkle off yours in glorious coruscating patterns; a person who gets to know not just the you you sometimes show but the you you truly are; a person who when you weren't looking slipped a naked wounded heart into the pocket of your jacket with a bow and a note that said handle with careNot every story was a 5 but most of them were The first story Salted Cashews Swear to God was two pages of perfection and I was all in from there Other favorites A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion; We Men of Science; Rufus; Up and Comers; Move across the country above uote is from this one; and the poem It seemed right up my alley but the alley was too shallow and narrow to get throughtI love Bojack Horseman but writing TV scripts clearly is an utterly different skill than writing fiction on paperIt is often silly superficial childish simple and almost never funny despite it's aim and claim Why all the cheering by BJ Novak ans Kelly Link? I guess it has to do with the Bojack Horseman reputation than with this not even close debut The truth is the whole place is just a bunch of assholes And it turns out making an asshole a president just means you end up with an asshole president Probably could have guessed that Being president doesn't change you not really Just brings out of the You that you already areThis is a tough one I really liked pretty much all these stories but the thing is that they're not really stories each feels like a joke in a stand up routine we take something absurd about life and extend it to it's extreme position A Most Blessed is a great example riffing on the inanity of the wedding industry and laugh about how silly it is Even when the story is addressing missed opportunities lost relationships or the difficulty in communicating with each other they feel wry rather than heartfelt Missed Connections for instance spoofs an I Saw You where a couple let their entire lives go by 60ish years catalogued literally sitting across from each other on the subway and neither starting a conversation nor moving on with their lives It should be tragic but it reads as 'aren't these folks idiots?' Bob Waksberg writes a great joke I havent seen Bojack Horseman so don't me has a great sense of rhythm is innovative Rufus the story from the perspective of a dog is incredibly creative and is a great wordsmith the narration of these tales was phenomenal not least because his verbage is hyper with adjectives alliteration and other wordplay But nothing here could be made into a good long form story and even the many stories that I truly liked are already fading from memory because they hit their target a laugh from me and the aim wasn't for meaningful connection Audio is the way to go on this oneOne great line that ended a story that doesn't live up to it's depth Life is terrifying and overwhelming and it can happen at any moment And when you're confronted with life you can either be cowardly or you can be brave But either way you're going to live So you might as well be brave Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory Stories


About the Author: Raphael Bob Waksberg

Raphael Matthew Bob Waksberg is an American comedian writer producer actor and voice actor He is known as the creator and showrunner of the animated comedy series BoJack Horseman He is also an executive producer on the animated series Tuca & Bertie


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