If youre tired of going to bed with flabby, self-important books that push you into long-term commitments and rarely deliver on their promises, treat yourself this Valentines Day to a box of Godiva chocolates and Simon Richs hysterical new story collection, The Last Girlfriend on Earth.
It just might be the best one-night stand youll ever have.
Divided into three sections – Boy Meets Girl, Boy Gets Girl, Boy Loses Girl – the books lean sketches range from the bizarre (a magical, natty goat falls hard for a little English girl) to the deliciously profane (a priest unleashes his inner bro to exorcise the ghost of an ex-girlfriend).
Some of these tales have appeared in The New Yorker. All of them will remind you that, when it comes to a good story, size doesnt matter.
In fact, the books best pieces are no longer than a few pages.
Dog Missed Connections, Richs hilarious canine variation on the wistful, occasionally creepy Craigs- list category, might deliver more laughs per word than anything youll read this year: Saw you by the Dumpster, eating a pile of what appeared to be human vomit, posts w4m; Astoria, alley behind Taco Bell. You seemed like someone who doesnt take himself too seriously.
The books first story, Protected, is an oddly warm tale about a sentimental young man negotiating loves battlefield.
Its told through the eyes of a prophylactic living in his wallet.
When I wake up next day, Jordan is dangling me over trash can, the condom says one morning, still in its wrapper. Suddenly, though, Jordan carries me away – to other side of room. I am placed inside shoe box under his bed.
The son of former New York Times columnist Frank Rich, the author was the second-youngest writer ever hired by Saturday Night Live, and his parodies are top-notch.
The Adventure of the Spotted Tie, for example, gives us a Sherlock Holmes who can detect anything but his wifes infidelity.
In Occupy Jens Street, a movement rises up against the entire romantic system: Ninety-nine percent of men are in love with the top one percent of women, says the ringleader. And yet they often refuse to date us. Its a complete injustice.
Lets give the last word here to Xander, a scientist in Richs zany, touching story The Present, whos gotten one too many impersonal birthday gifts for his girlfriend.
He establishes himself as perhaps the books most sympathetic character when he makes this realization: Quantum physics and nuclear hydraulics were trivial compared to the rigors of gift shopping.