Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Published by Alfred A. Knopf on June 11th, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Humour, Short Stories
“And 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 live. So you might as well be brave.”
Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to classic TV shows like The Simpsons or South Park. The only animated TV shows I was watching were Sailor Moon and Stickin’ Around. So, kids stuff. So I never expected to fall in love with BoJack Horseman when it came out on Netflix.
It’s a highly underrated show that I tell everybody to watch. It’s hilariously off-beat with the anthropomorphic animals. But the often tongue-in-cheek show covered heavy topics with surprising aplomb. I think it is one of the best depictions of what it’s like to struggle with your mental health, especially when you suffer from depression and anxiety.
Anyway, enough of my love for BoJack Horseman. What I’m trying to say is that I had no idea that the creator of the show wrote a wonderful collection of short stories! They are a collection of short stories about love—the best and worst thing in the universe. Written with the same scathing dark humour that is a hallmark of the show, Bob-Waksberg’s stories range from the surreal to the painfully relatable.
I don’t have a great track record with short story collections. It’s common for me to only like one or two stories out of the bunch.
So I was amazed when I got to the end of the book when I realized that I pleasantly enjoyed every single story.
Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some stories that I loved more than others.
Here are my favourites from the bunch, the ones that I bookmarked to re-read before I had to return it back to the library:
- A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion
- Missed Connection–m4w
- Lies We Told Each Other (a partial list)
- Lunch with the Person Who Dumped You
- Rules for Taboo
- Move across the country.
- We will be close on Friday 18 July.
With each story, it’s made clear that Bob-Waksberg has a huge imagination and is able to weave together very creative, hilarious, and thoughtful tales. And while some stories resonated with me more than others, I appreciated his willingness to take stylistic risks.
He experimented with different types of narratives. He explored surrealism, tried out multiple stories as told in second-person, created stories out of lists, and one as a poem. He even plays with page alignments! It helps to keep these stories fresh and entertaining.
I was also thoroughly impressed by his ability to shift to different tones and voices for his characters. But most of all, he’s brilliant at casually burying philosophical questions in paragraphs dripping with sarcasm. It should feel pretentious, but somehow, it works.
If you’re looking for a series of fast-paced and absurdist tales, look no further. Bob-Waksberg will take you on a journey through surrealist plots to fits of existential angst.
It’s a beautiful view of love in all its forms. From dating to marriage, friendship to family, joy to despair. Though thematically unified, the individual stories never feel redundant. Each have a slightly different take on what it means to love in this day and age.
And if you don’t want to read this book, at least have the decency to watch BoJack Horseman! Seriously, watch it. You won’t regret it.