I generally don’t laugh at books, though audiobooks have a greater chance. Too often, I might chuckle or just smirk or notice humor and move on. So consider me surprised when this book, which I wasn’t even super keen on reading made me laugh several times throughout. Simon Rich is most famous for the being the younger son of Frank Rich, and I am sorry if that’s offensive to him. He’s also a screenwriter who created Man Seeking Woman and wrote the screenplay for American Pickle, which I haven’t seen, but I am more interested in now.
This book feels a little like an anachronism to me. The stories are clever and exude cleverness. The writing is genuinely sharp, and they read like well-down scenarios or even comedy sketches. This is primarily probably based in the fact that good screenwriters are good at writing, shocking, while books written by comedians often feel forced or static in ways that comedy doesn’t usually. Each story explores a goofy premise, usually a fish out of genre story. The first story is written entirely in priate-talk about a pirate captain and his first mate accidentally becoming parents to a young stowaway. The resulting story is a funny blend of both pirate and new parent tropes. In another story, a giant ape that became the savior of a city has to come to grips with feeling useless and pitied when the danger in the city is no longer present and he becomes a kind of civil servant. In another, a young French lord narcissistically rules his kingdom. Another: a laser disk player contemplates the drudgery of life passing you by. And then in another, also published by Audible involves Babe Ruth figuring out who Babe Ruth is. You won’t be blown away, but this certainly made an afternoon of yardwork very pleasurable.