Saturday, August 2, 2014
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak
Synopsis from publisher -
A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes — only to discover that claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins — turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We also meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself; a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook. Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just... down.
Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element that just might make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, sharp eye, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.
My thoughts -
I very much enjoyed this funny, clever, and interesting collection of short (some VERY short) stories. Novak has a somewhat specific sense of humor, so it's not completely surprising to me to see that some readers are not "getting" the collection - the humor is sly, and sometimes on the edge of cutting, and it's not going to be for everyone. Standouts from the collection for me include No One Goes to Heaven to See Dan Fogleberg, about the quality of the musical offerings in Heaven; The Something by John Grisham, about a big surprise for the prolific author; Sophia, about a sex robot who falls in love; and Welcome to Camp Fantastic for Gifted Teens, about a very unusual summer camp opportunity. These were MY particular favorites - I would bet each reader would come up with a different list, because each story in the collection is a sarcastic gift waiting to be opened. This collection does include lots of strong language and adult situations, so parents should beware. I'm already looking forward to Novak's next collection.
Finished - 8/1/14
MPAA Rating - R for language, adult situations
My rating - 4/5