Author: Jesse Eisenberg
Genre: Short stories, humor
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
256 pages, hardcover
Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.
NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Grove Atlantic for letting me read this!
I don’t know about you, but anytime I see that an actor or musician or whatever has written a book, I’m pretty skeptical. I’ve read a lot of books by “famous” people that really should’ve stayed on that person’s computer. But I loved Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland, Adventureland, and Now You See Me, and I researched him a bit and saw that he’s actually a playwright as well as an actor. So he had me intrigued, as did the summary of Bream Gives Me Hiccups. I thought, “Why not? I’m probably not going to get approved for this one anyway.” And then I did. And then I read the book. And now I need more from Jesse Eisenberg.
Okay, no, it’s not the greatest short story collection I’ve ever read, but I’m seriously impressed with Jesse Eisenberg’s writing ability. He’s obviously talented, and his stories are intelligent, funny, and well-written. I updated my Goodreads status after almost every story with my immediate and initial thoughts upon finishing each one.
Note that I used words like “hilarious” with almost every single update. My absolute favorite story was the very first one, “Restaurant Reviews from a Privileged Nine-Year-Old”. It was dry, emotional, and got me so pumped to read the rest of the collection. I do think they did a bit of a disservice by beginning the collection with what is obviously the strongest story, but I don’t even care. I loved this one.
Another favorite was “If I Was Fluent In…” I literally laughed out loud SO hard and loudly that a patron at the library asked me if I was okay. HA! (Not a spoiler, but if you do read, watch out for the Indian section of this story – LOL!) When I read short story collections, I tend to read a story here and there but not straight through. NOT with this one! I didn’t want to stop.
The bottom line: I’ve got to mention that there were a few stories that I honestly wouldn’t have missed had they not been included, but overall, Eisenberg’s collection is seriously funny, honest, intelligent, and engrossing. He’s obviously talented, and I’m looking forward to what’s next from him.
Rating: 7.5 – between pretty good and freaking fantastic