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The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories

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In Center of the Universe, God struggles to balance the demands of his career with the needs of his long-term girlfriend. In Magical Mr. Goat, a young girl's imaginary friend yearns to become "more than friends." In Unprotected, an unused prophylactic recalls his years spent trapped inside a teen boy's wallet. The stories in Simon Rich's new book are bizarre, funny, and In Center of the Universe, God struggles to balance the demands of his career with the needs of his long-term girlfriend. In Magical Mr. Goat, a young girl's imaginary friend yearns to become "more than friends." In Unprotected, an unused prophylactic recalls his years spent trapped inside a teen boy's wallet. The stories in Simon Rich's new book are bizarre, funny, and yet...relatable. Rich explores love's many complications-losing it, finding it, breaking it, and making it-and turns the ordinary into the absurd. With razor-sharp humor and illustrations, and just in time for Valentine's Day, Rich takes readers for an exhilarating, hilarious ride on the rollercoaster of love.


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In Center of the Universe, God struggles to balance the demands of his career with the needs of his long-term girlfriend. In Magical Mr. Goat, a young girl's imaginary friend yearns to become "more than friends." In Unprotected, an unused prophylactic recalls his years spent trapped inside a teen boy's wallet. The stories in Simon Rich's new book are bizarre, funny, and In Center of the Universe, God struggles to balance the demands of his career with the needs of his long-term girlfriend. In Magical Mr. Goat, a young girl's imaginary friend yearns to become "more than friends." In Unprotected, an unused prophylactic recalls his years spent trapped inside a teen boy's wallet. The stories in Simon Rich's new book are bizarre, funny, and yet...relatable. Rich explores love's many complications-losing it, finding it, breaking it, and making it-and turns the ordinary into the absurd. With razor-sharp humor and illustrations, and just in time for Valentine's Day, Rich takes readers for an exhilarating, hilarious ride on the rollercoaster of love.

30 review for The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kristina Horner

    This was great! An eclectic collection of short stories that are bite sized and easy to power through. I'm not usually the biggest fan of collections of short stories, but I loved this book. While 3-4 of them made me a little uncomfortable, most were side-splittingly funny, sharp and memorable. This was great! An eclectic collection of short stories that are bite sized and easy to power through. I'm not usually the biggest fan of collections of short stories, but I loved this book. While 3-4 of them made me a little uncomfortable, most were side-splittingly funny, sharp and memorable.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Faseeh Ilahi

    So I just finished " The last girlfriend on earth: and other love stories" by Simon Rich. Average rating: 2.56/5 🌟 This is an anthology of short stories by Simon Rich. These short stories are really funny and weird and I love it. It consist of the following stories: 1. Unprotected: 4.5/5 🌟 2. Magical Mr. Goat: 4/5 🌟 3. Occupy Jen's street: 2.5/5 🌟 4. Dog missed connections: 2/5 🌟 5. Sirens of Gowanus: 3/5 🌟 6. Cupid: 1/5 🌟 7. Set up: 4/5 🌟 8. Eureka: 1/5 🌟 9. NASA proposal: 4/5 🌟 10. Archeological excavation So I just finished " The last girlfriend on earth: and other love stories" by Simon Rich. Average rating: 2.56/5 🌟 This is an anthology of short stories by Simon Rich. These short stories are really funny and weird and I love it. It consist of the following stories: 1. Unprotected: 4.5/5 🌟 2. Magical Mr. Goat: 4/5 🌟 3. Occupy Jen's street: 2.5/5 🌟 4. Dog missed connections: 2/5 🌟 5. Sirens of Gowanus: 3/5 🌟 6. Cupid: 1/5 🌟 7. Set up: 4/5 🌟 8. Eureka: 1/5 🌟 9. NASA proposal: 4/5 🌟 10. Archeological excavation report: Ludlow lounge: 1/5 🌟 11. Victory: 3/5 🌟 12. I love girl: 3/5 🌟 13. Scared straight: 3/5 🌟 14. Center of the universe: 4/5 🌟 15. Girlfriend repair shop: 3/5 🌟 16. The adventure of the spotted. tie: 2/5 🌟 17. Celebrity sexceptions: 3.5/5 🌟 18. Wishes: 1/5 🌟 19. Confidence: 2/5 🌟 20. The important thing: 1.5/5 🌟 21. The last girlfriend on earth: 4/5 🌟 22. Is it just me?: 2/5 🌟 23. The haunting of 26 Bleecker street: 2/5 🌟 24. When Alex Trebek’s Ex-Wife Appeared on Jeopardy!: 1/5 🌟 25. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: 2/5 🌟 26. Man seeking woman: 1/5 🌟 27. Invisible man: 3/5 🌟 28. The present: 3/5 🌟 29. Children of the dirt: 3/5 🌟 30. Trade: 3/5 🌟

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter Boyle

    There isn't a writer around that makes me laugh as much as Simon Rich. A former SNL staffer and a regular contributor to the New Yorker, he has a unique way of using surreal situations to highlight the absurdities of modern life. The stories in this book focus on the pursuit of love and the difficulty in maintaining a relationship. They are told mainly from a guy's point of view, mocking male insecurity and stupidity in a knowing & hilarious manner. I squirmed and chuckled in recognition at these There isn't a writer around that makes me laugh as much as Simon Rich. A former SNL staffer and a regular contributor to the New Yorker, he has a unique way of using surreal situations to highlight the absurdities of modern life. The stories in this book focus on the pursuit of love and the difficulty in maintaining a relationship. They are told mainly from a guy's point of view, mocking male insecurity and stupidity in a knowing & hilarious manner. I squirmed and chuckled in recognition at these bonkers, insightful yarns. My favourites included Unprotected (which is narrated by a condom from its owner's wallet), Mr Tumnus, where the friendship between a young girl and an imaginary goat takes an unexpected turn, and The Present, a touching tale in which a scientist uses a time machine to give his girlfriend the perfect birthday gift. I don't think this book is quite as consistent as Spoiled Brats, his most recent collection (if you haven't read it I URGE you to seek it out). But The Last Girlfriend on Earth is still a highly entertaining read - clever, inventive and laugh-out-loud funny.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jade Lopert

    So, this book. Where to start. I guess we'll start with the fact that I found out after reading it that the author also wrote for Saturday Night Live. Oh, well, that's not a great criteria for being funny. When was the last time SNL was funny? Much like SNL, there are occasional flashes of brilliance between long bouts of repetitive bs. For those who want to know those flashes of brilliance and comedy are: "Unprotected" and "The Present". Everything else is either average or not funny in the sli So, this book. Where to start. I guess we'll start with the fact that I found out after reading it that the author also wrote for Saturday Night Live. Oh, well, that's not a great criteria for being funny. When was the last time SNL was funny? Much like SNL, there are occasional flashes of brilliance between long bouts of repetitive bs. For those who want to know those flashes of brilliance and comedy are: "Unprotected" and "The Present". Everything else is either average or not funny in the slightest. I also feel the need to point out that reading this as a woman is this: It would be misogynistic if it weren't so clear that this was clearly written by a man who has experienced a lot of rejection in his life and is incredibly bitter. Women are very one dimensional and vapid and emotional throughout.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Peter Derk

    Here's what I'm seeing in a lot of reviews. This is a direct pull from a reviewer below. I'm not attacking this reviewer, but I think it's a good summary of the sorts of things people are saying: I also feel the need to point out that reading this as a woman is this: It would be misogynistic if it weren't so clear that this was clearly written by a man who has experienced a lot of rejection in his life and is incredibly bitter. Women are very one dimensional and vapid and emotional throughout. I'm Here's what I'm seeing in a lot of reviews. This is a direct pull from a reviewer below. I'm not attacking this reviewer, but I think it's a good summary of the sorts of things people are saying: I also feel the need to point out that reading this as a woman is this: It would be misogynistic if it weren't so clear that this was clearly written by a man who has experienced a lot of rejection in his life and is incredibly bitter. Women are very one dimensional and vapid and emotional throughout. I'm going to bust out the Merriam-Webster here and define misogyny: "a hatred of women" This book definitely puts women in categories. For example, in saying that women like to be taken out to expensive dinners. It also puts men into categories. For example, in saying that men do not like to take women to expensive dinners. Why does this happen? I feel like it's a common thing to see in comedy, the use of stereotype as a shortcut. Because the content is a joke. So, for example, in one of my favorite pieces, we get a Scared Straight type of program, but instead of keeping criminals off the streets, adult men in long-term relationships are screaming at teens about the dangers of commitment. "Look at this fucking restaurant!" a red-faced guard had screamed at him as he shuffled through the candlelit bistro. "This is the kind of place you're going to have to take her to every Saturday night! Because when you're in a relationship, Saturday night is date night!" Christian tried to keep it together, but when the guard shoved a menu into his hand and made him read out the price of the steak au poivre, his lips began to quiver. A conscientious treatise on gender politics would be sure to point out that women pay for meals. That sometimes it's a man who wants to take a woman to a fancy place as a way of demonstrating his economic status. If I thought about it as me, I would think, "My girlfriend makes the same money I do, and she pretty much insists on paying more often than not by PHYSICALLY taking my wallet away from me." I can't disagree that the characters are one-dimensional. However, I think this is done with purpose. The stories serve the jokes, the characters serve the jokes. The jokes in this book are strongly premise-based, backed up with some snappy dialog. Character, male OR female, doesn't have a lot of room to move in this book. I'll admit it, I just thought the book was goddamn funny. The premise of a scared straight for relationships? That shit's funny. Now, what I'm not doing here is tossing off an accusation of misogyny by saying that the content isn't serious and is therefore not subject to the same rules. This is a book that has a short story where a man goes on a date with a troll. Not a stand-in, very unattractive woman. A literal troll. There are mermaids. Someone's ex starts dating Hitler. And I think the purpose, the over-arching theme of this books is the idea of what it FEELS like to date. And within a single, narrow category: As a straight, white man in his 20's or 30's. The point of the Hitler story is that, basically, when your ex starts dating someone new it always feels like that person must be the worst ever. And somehow, nobody sees it but you. All your mutual friends are like, "I think you're overreacting. He's not so bad." The joke here isn't "Hitler! That's funny!" The joke is the idea of irrational hatred that FEELS legitimate taken to a completely farcical level. The book is kind of brilliant in the way it turns feelings, which are just that, and makes them into reality. Emotion shapes each story. I felt like the writing came from the heart. Which isn't something we're used to saying with comedy. From The Heart almost always means serious, possibly involving angels. But really, I think the stories show a rawness of emotion that can be a little off-putting at times. If you asked me how I felt 10 minutes into a break-up, I might say things that I would never say outside of that space. In this book, that space is expanded and preserved, and we get to explore how uncomfortable and awful that space is, not just because dating is hard and it can suck, but because we make it hard for ourselves with our unfair, stupid, reactionary, in-the-moment emotions. The stories are definitely from a male perspective, and some of the women behave in a way some of us would be proud of, some of them do not. Them men are the same. I guess my overall feeling is that if you're reading reviews and wondering whether this book is hateful towards women, I would say it's not. One man's opinion. If you think the above scenarios sound funny, then you'll like this book. If you think it sounds too unfair to women, then I won't say you're wrong. It's a book that is definitely, 100% from a male perspective, voiced by male characters. I find it to be a mixed bag of good-hearted people and shitty people. Which is my experience of life too, the difference being that the length and reality of my actual experiences provides a lot more opportunity for nuance, which these stories do not. If someone put a lady version of this in my hands, I'd be excited to read it, and I'd probably laugh. If someone put a transgender version of this in my hands, I'd probably laugh too. The humor, for me, was in the dead-on setups and the dialog, and I don't think I really found much in the realm of "women be all like this" as a setup or a punchline. I'm a Simon Rich fan. What can I say?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    This might possibly be one of the funniest story collections I've ever read. I can't count the number of times I laughed out loud while reading, something that doesn't happen that often for me. The 30 stories in Simon Rich's uniquely creative, sometimes zany, sometimes heartfelt collection are all about relationships—finding them, trying to maintain them, and losing or ending them. And not every relationship is traditional—one story recounts Zeus' frustrations with an alcoholic, hiphop-loving Cup This might possibly be one of the funniest story collections I've ever read. I can't count the number of times I laughed out loud while reading, something that doesn't happen that often for me. The 30 stories in Simon Rich's uniquely creative, sometimes zany, sometimes heartfelt collection are all about relationships—finding them, trying to maintain them, and losing or ending them. And not every relationship is traditional—one story recounts Zeus' frustrations with an alcoholic, hiphop-loving Cupid, while another (one of the funniest in the collection) is narrated by a condom as he makes his journey from the drugstore into someone's wallet. Don't be dismayed by the fact that there are 30 stories—most are quite short; in fact, some only last a page or two. Some of my favorite stories in the collection are: Unprotected, the already-mentioned story narrated by the condom; Occupy Jen's Street, in which an Occupy Wall Street protest is somehow transformed into one trying to get a girl to date one of the protestors; Scared Straight, in which a group of teenagers trying to pursue long-term relationships are dissuaded by those stuck in the reality of those commitments; The Last Girlfriend on Earth, narrated by a man who has the last girlfriend on Earth; Invisible Man, in which a CIA agent using invisibility drugs to hunt down a terrorist gets distracted by spying on his ex-girlfriend; and Present, the story of a scientist who can never quite do right by his girlfriend. I found myself constantly marveling at some of the ideas Rich came up with, and the characters in his stories don't always seem to follow typical behaviors—a man's friends try to set him up with a female troll, characters have no problem dating Mother Teresa or Adolf Hitler. Some stories aren't quite stories—there are a few personal ads, a report about the excavation of a bar by archaeologists, even Jeopardy! questions/answers. As I mentioned earlier, some of the stories are quite short. And while Rich generally has a perfect grasp on how long his stories should run, a few ended so abruptly I can't help but wonder whether part of those stories got lost in the translation from print to e-book. But beyond that, Rich's voice is so creative, fresh, and fun, this was a tremendously fast read for me and an investment I'm glad I made. The funny thing is, I would never have heard of this collection if it weren't for a recommendation from Amazon. And now that I've read it, if Rich's other books are this funny, I'm going to have to read them all.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I would rate this book with one and a half stars, if I could. The anthology started out fairly strong with some creative spins on typical love stories, but the gender stereotyping became rather frustrating and repetitive by the middle of the book. The author's humorous exaggeration is enjoyable and the pieces are well-written, but some of the stereotypes that the author choose in particular for the image of the "girlfriend" were grating. I would have loved to read humorous love stories that were I would rate this book with one and a half stars, if I could. The anthology started out fairly strong with some creative spins on typical love stories, but the gender stereotyping became rather frustrating and repetitive by the middle of the book. The author's humorous exaggeration is enjoyable and the pieces are well-written, but some of the stereotypes that the author choose in particular for the image of the "girlfriend" were grating. I would have loved to read humorous love stories that were NOT entirely hetero-normative and full of, at times, destructive gender stereotypes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This book felt too flat to be truly satirical. Sometimes it seemed like the punchline should have been, "can you believe people actually think the world works like this?" but was instead, "can you believe the world actually works like this ?" The author seemed to believe that 1) if a man loves a woman, he's entirely beholden to her 2) men want sex above all else and 3) women are inherently disloyal and are constantly trying to trade in their men for a better deal. These tired tropes are hones This book felt too flat to be truly satirical. Sometimes it seemed like the punchline should have been, "can you believe people actually think the world works like this?" but was instead, "can you believe the world actually works like this ?" The author seemed to believe that 1) if a man loves a woman, he's entirely beholden to her 2) men want sex above all else and 3) women are inherently disloyal and are constantly trying to trade in their men for a better deal. These tired tropes are honestly more sad than they are funny. The author also paints his female characters with absurdly broad strokes. They're the anchors of each narrative but nearly all are lifeless, one dimensional, decorative centerpieces. What makes Kat any different from Kayla? In 30 stories, maybe one or two women truly stand out. So what drives the men in each story towards them? Is it just their desire for sex? Feels like it. The book is sexist in its simplifications-- all women watch America's Next Top Model and all women will leave you at the drop of a hat if given a chance. On top of that, every male character is clueless and downright stupid when it comes to relationships. Is that supposed to be the punchline? Men are simple and bad at relationships? Again, a tired, sexist trope. It's possible to write a funny book about modern love. This just isn't that book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nick Soapdish

    Awful. Didn't laugh once. Didn't even come close. This is a collection of short stories about how much better life would be if women would just put out, instead of being all 'woman-y' and annoying. Author Simon Rich seemed kind of bitter to me, and when I got to the end of the book, I saw his picture and it all suddenly made sense... Awful. Didn't laugh once. Didn't even come close. This is a collection of short stories about how much better life would be if women would just put out, instead of being all 'woman-y' and annoying. Author Simon Rich seemed kind of bitter to me, and when I got to the end of the book, I saw his picture and it all suddenly made sense...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I sought this book out after hearing the first story, "Unprotected" on This American Life and loving it. That story, and a few of other ones (Magical Mr. Goat, The Present) are truly great and LOL-funny. And the author, Simon Rich, has written for SNL and Pixar and The New Yorker. Oh! And he has a super-funny story, "Guy Walks Into A Bar" that was in the New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs section a couple of years ago. You should read that right now instead of this book. But. The rest of the storie I sought this book out after hearing the first story, "Unprotected" on This American Life and loving it. That story, and a few of other ones (Magical Mr. Goat, The Present) are truly great and LOL-funny. And the author, Simon Rich, has written for SNL and Pixar and The New Yorker. Oh! And he has a super-funny story, "Guy Walks Into A Bar" that was in the New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs section a couple of years ago. You should read that right now instead of this book. But. The rest of the stories are notttt goooood. It's not that the author isn't funny, because he obviously is. But he also seems to have a super immature, simplistic view of relationships and women. I get that comedy can be stupid and funny and that's okay, but to read story after story about stereotypical uptight, humorless women who are annoyed at their unaware boyfriends and men who are sex-crazed and dumb was just too much. There's actually a story called "Girlfriend Repair Shop" in which a guy takes his annoying girlfriend to a mechanic where she is rewired to be less of a bitch. That's the whole story. Yep. There are a lot of stories like that.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashley L.

    While mostly funny taken individually, the collection of stories as a whole relied a little too hard on that kind of LCD easily accessible sexism that is too much a part of comic relationship writing. Don't get me wrong, I laughed my ass off at parts, but I do wish he would come back and write this book again a few real-life girlfriend experiences down the road. I heard in an interview with him that the current is girlfriend #1 for Simon Rich, and you can tell. While mostly funny taken individually, the collection of stories as a whole relied a little too hard on that kind of LCD easily accessible sexism that is too much a part of comic relationship writing. Don't get me wrong, I laughed my ass off at parts, but I do wish he would come back and write this book again a few real-life girlfriend experiences down the road. I heard in an interview with him that the current is girlfriend #1 for Simon Rich, and you can tell.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie Parks

    This book is soooo funny. I just read the first story and now am fighting major belly cramps from all the laughing...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    *would have been 1.5 stars if point fives were an option* Perhaps part of why I didn't like this is because I had just finished reading a book by David Sedaris (another humorist) which I really enjoyed. It was difficult not to compare the two. I found this book childish and immature. I didn't find it funny. It was an easy read though. I'm sure some people will like it. It's just not my taste. Also, I can't write this review without mentioning that one of the stories in it had one of my biggest pet *would have been 1.5 stars if point fives were an option* Perhaps part of why I didn't like this is because I had just finished reading a book by David Sedaris (another humorist) which I really enjoyed. It was difficult not to compare the two. I found this book childish and immature. I didn't find it funny. It was an easy read though. I'm sure some people will like it. It's just not my taste. Also, I can't write this review without mentioning that one of the stories in it had one of my biggest pet peeves. There was a story entitled "Cupid" which had both Cupid and Zeus as characters. Cupid is of Roman mythological origin; Zeus is of Greek mythological origin. You can't just mix the two. There is a Roman version of Zeus, and a Greek version of Cupid. Pick one type of myth and stick with it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Hilarious ! If you are fan of the TV show Man seeking Woman this is required reading as the show is based on this book. Bite sized nuggets of hilarity and poignancy. Think Simspons at its best ( season 4-8)! Both at its wittiest and most insightful. This is the book I am passing out to all my friends for their birthdays this year ! ( well the friends who read )

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melora

    Four and a half stars, rounded up. I really enjoy Rich's stories. Things aren't always easy for his characters (if they were, I guess there wouldn't be stories to tell), but mostly things tend to come out surprisingly well, and despite full recognition of the absurdities of life and the follies of humanity, a feeling of warmth and optimism prevails here. Four and a half stars, rounded up. I really enjoy Rich's stories. Things aren't always easy for his characters (if they were, I guess there wouldn't be stories to tell), but mostly things tend to come out surprisingly well, and despite full recognition of the absurdities of life and the follies of humanity, a feeling of warmth and optimism prevails here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Harwell

    Few books are truly laugh-out-loud funny, but TLGoE comes through in fine form with several. A few caused me a little embarrassment in the crowded break room at work. Most of the time, I really wanted to read whole pieces out loud to the people around me. This is one to share with BFFs and sleeping companions. Many of the stories contain mythical, religious, and fantastic figures, both literary and drawn from pop culture. The theme of love and romance never falters, keeping the collection on a st Few books are truly laugh-out-loud funny, but TLGoE comes through in fine form with several. A few caused me a little embarrassment in the crowded break room at work. Most of the time, I really wanted to read whole pieces out loud to the people around me. This is one to share with BFFs and sleeping companions. Many of the stories contain mythical, religious, and fantastic figures, both literary and drawn from pop culture. The theme of love and romance never falters, keeping the collection on a steady track, whether tackling a sullen, hip-hop cupid, oblivious mad scientist, or overworked Creator. But it isn't just a bunch of whimsical trifles. There's sincerity and vulnerability here, too. Rich knows that love is pain and pleasure at once. Simon Rich reminds me of Roy Blount Jr. a bit, but where the latter is often brilliant in his narration, Rich puts much of his cleverness in his dialogue. Probably understandable for a veteran sketch writer. My only criticism is that, given the brevity of the stories, I sometimes wanted a little more depth to run on. That isn't a failing of Rich's, merely a function of devouring the book in great chunks. It might be best served by reading a couple or three stories at a time and putting it aside for another quick session the next day. It begins and ends with some of the best comedy I've read in a very long time, framing the merely good stories (though I hasten to add there are plenty of terrific ones in the middle) with several humorous home runs. Thanks, Simon, I sorely needed the funny at this time in my life, and you delivered, in spades.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Well isn't this just a lovely little find. I heard Rich on NPR? The Moth? I have no idea about anything anymore, but I heard him read one of the stories from this collection and was immediately like, 'That guy." So I got the book and let me say: not disappointed. A collection of dating-themed extremely inventive quite short stories that are united by Rich's really unique voice. Which is to say mostly it's the fun of pairing a very modern take/tone with history/reverent topics to fun effect (eg: a Well isn't this just a lovely little find. I heard Rich on NPR? The Moth? I have no idea about anything anymore, but I heard him read one of the stories from this collection and was immediately like, 'That guy." So I got the book and let me say: not disappointed. A collection of dating-themed extremely inventive quite short stories that are united by Rich's really unique voice. Which is to say mostly it's the fun of pairing a very modern take/tone with history/reverent topics to fun effect (eg: a story about God being pussywhipped by his demanding girlfriend). I recommend parsing it out into little bits if you can - the stories are honestly all pretty strong, but if you just cannonball one after another it can dull the effect a little of how special this guy's perspective is. I also think I say this about every good collection of short stories/essays I ever read. Physician heal myself.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emi Bevacqua

    I never knew who Simon Rich was before checking this tiny treasure out from the library, even though I had already read Unprotected by him (maybe in the New Yorker?), the very first short-story in this LOL-rich collection. He looks like Michael Cera, but he comes up with all his own stuff! He looks so so young, was the second youngest writer Saturday Night Live ever hired, Wikipedia says he's 30, and his stuff is super brilliant. The shortest piece here is just one page long, the longest is 19 p I never knew who Simon Rich was before checking this tiny treasure out from the library, even though I had already read Unprotected by him (maybe in the New Yorker?), the very first short-story in this LOL-rich collection. He looks like Michael Cera, but he comes up with all his own stuff! He looks so so young, was the second youngest writer Saturday Night Live ever hired, Wikipedia says he's 30, and his stuff is super brilliant. The shortest piece here is just one page long, the longest is 19 pages; most of them surprised me and a couple of them I saw coming, but they all deserve praise.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elisha Condie

    I love Simon Rich. A lot. His writing is simple but sophisticated too - he manages to get across the funniest expressions and comments with such brevity. It just kills me. This whole book is short stories of dating life. Most of it I loved. The CIA agent who is tasked with taking down the most dangerous terrorist in the world, but who uses the invisibility serum to stalk his girlfriend instead; the guy whose girlfriend has growing complaints about him is referred by their couples counselor to a I love Simon Rich. A lot. His writing is simple but sophisticated too - he manages to get across the funniest expressions and comments with such brevity. It just kills me. This whole book is short stories of dating life. Most of it I loved. The CIA agent who is tasked with taking down the most dangerous terrorist in the world, but who uses the invisibility serum to stalk his girlfriend instead; the guy whose girlfriend has growing complaints about him is referred by their couples counselor to a back alley mechanic who pops her head open and adjusts a loose wire to return her to her earlier contented self. They are just fantastic. But one left me deeply unsettled. In it, a 30ish man, not super attractive but not the worst agrees to being set up by his friends on a date with a Swedish girl. Only when he gets there she is a troll. An honest to goodness troll who lives under a bridge and bites his leg upon meeting him. He's rightly horrified and upset, until he realizes his friends think he is this troll girl's equal. Is he too good for a troll? Really? At his age and still single? They are disappointed in his attitude and he's horrified to realize he's on the same dating bar as this troll. Who, after being spurned, goes on to marry a nice lawyer and live it up in the suburbs while he remains depressingly single. DEEPLY UNSETTLING as a person who is trying to date but still hoping for something better than troll.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Canavan

    ✭✭✭½ “Unprotected” ✭✭✭✭½ “Magical Mr. Goat” ✭✭✭½ “Occupy Jen’s Street” ✭✭✭½ “Dog Missed Connections” ✭✭✭ “Sirens of Gowanus” ✭✭✭½ “Cupid” ✭✭✭ “Set Up” ✭✭✭½ “Eureka” ✭✭✭ “NASA Proposal” ✭✭✭½ “Archaeological Excavation Report: Ludlow Lounge” ✭✭✭ “Victory” ✭✭✭½ “I Love Girl” ✭✭✭½ “Sacred Straight” ✭✭✭ “Center of the Universe” ✭✭✭ “Girlfriend Repair Shop” ✭✭✭ “The Adventure of the Spotted Tie” ✭✭✭✭ “Celebrity Sexceptions” ✭✭✭½ “Wishes” ✭✭✭ “Confidence” ✭✭✭½ “The Important Thing” ✭✭✭ “The Last Girlfriend on Earth” ✭✭✭½ “I ✭✭✭½ “Unprotected” ✭✭✭✭½ “Magical Mr. Goat” ✭✭✭½ “Occupy Jen’s Street” ✭✭✭½ “Dog Missed Connections” ✭✭✭ “Sirens of Gowanus” ✭✭✭½ “Cupid” ✭✭✭ “Set Up” ✭✭✭½ “Eureka” ✭✭✭ “NASA Proposal” ✭✭✭½ “Archaeological Excavation Report: Ludlow Lounge” ✭✭✭ “Victory” ✭✭✭½ “I Love Girl” ✭✭✭½ “Sacred Straight” ✭✭✭ “Center of the Universe” ✭✭✭ “Girlfriend Repair Shop” ✭✭✭ “The Adventure of the Spotted Tie” ✭✭✭✭ “Celebrity Sexceptions” ✭✭✭½ “Wishes” ✭✭✭ “Confidence” ✭✭✭½ “The Important Thing” ✭✭✭ “The Last Girlfriend on Earth” ✭✭✭½ “Is It Just Me?” ✭✭✭✭ “The Haunting of 26 Bleecker Street” ✭✭✭½ “When Alex Trebek’s Ex-Wife Appeared on Jeopardy” ✭✭✭ “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” ✭✭✭½ “Man Seeking Woman” ✭✭ “Invisible Man” ✭✭✭½ “The Present” ✭✭✭✭ “Children of the Dirt” ✭✭✭ “Trade” ✭✭✭✭ All stories first published 2013 except “Unprotected” (2012/2013 rev.), “Dog Missed Connections” (2012/2013 rev.), “I Love Girl” (2012/2013 rev.), “Center of the Universe” (2012/2013 rev.), and “Trade”(2011/2013 rev.).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kevin McLeod

    Guy pursues girl: ★★★★★ Guy gets girl: ★★ Guy loses girl: ★★★★

  22. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    I really enjoyed the Man Seeking Woman TV series on FX/FXX a few years back and I'm currently enjoying the second season of Miracle Workers -- both based on books by and created by Simon Rich. If those are your jam, then this will definitely be your jam. I've also been recommending it to all the straight women I work with. The stories are almost all quite funny (some extremely so, others less so) and there was one near the end ("Present" I think?) that made me cry. The audiobook is wonderful and I really enjoyed the Man Seeking Woman TV series on FX/FXX a few years back and I'm currently enjoying the second season of Miracle Workers -- both based on books by and created by Simon Rich. If those are your jam, then this will definitely be your jam. I've also been recommending it to all the straight women I work with. The stories are almost all quite funny (some extremely so, others less so) and there was one near the end ("Present" I think?) that made me cry. The audiobook is wonderful and read by the seemingly-endlessly pubescent, permanently awkward Simon Rich (the author). I definitely recommend listening!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    I'd heard a short story from this collection titled "The Present" read by David Rackoff on an episode of This American Life, and it brought me to tears. It so perfectly captures the relationship between the two main characters and describes the issue they're facing as a couple. After hearing the tale, I immediately looked the book up at my local library and put it on hold. I figured if the rest of the stories in this collection were even half of the story that "The Present" is, I'd enjoy it imme I'd heard a short story from this collection titled "The Present" read by David Rackoff on an episode of This American Life, and it brought me to tears. It so perfectly captures the relationship between the two main characters and describes the issue they're facing as a couple. After hearing the tale, I immediately looked the book up at my local library and put it on hold. I figured if the rest of the stories in this collection were even half of the story that "The Present" is, I'd enjoy it immensely. Unfortunately, that turned out to not be the case. At all. I understand that in a collection of 30+ stories, they can't all be winners. But most of the stories are so sexist, they left me with an icky feeling in the pit of my stomach after reading. We've got a little girl's imaginary friend (a fully grown male goat, by the way) who kisses her without her consent and gets upset she doesn't return his feelings (ew), a man who takes his girlfriend to get "repaired" because he doesn't listen to her nor does he do nice things for her, and this upsets her (ew), a college boy who stages a campus-wide protest against a girl who won't go out with him (ew), a NASA astronaut who submits a petition to force a fellow female astronaut to sleep with him in the name of "science" (ew), a story where being in a committed relationship with a woman is compared being incarcerated (ew), and on and on and on. Here are a few quotes that really left me with a bad taste in my mouth: The truth was, secretly, he had come to be proven right. He’d assumed that a third-party witness (particularly a male one) would take one look at the facts and declare him innocent. His girlfriend would be diagnosed with some mental problem: depression, possibly, or something menstruation-related. “Here,” he said, reaching into his cassock pocket. “I’m going to give you a sacred book.” He placed a slim black volume in Will’s hands. “It’s called The Game. It teaches you how to pick up girls.” "It's not just about Jen," he said. "It's about the entire romantic system. Ninety-nine percent of men are in love with the top one percent of women. And yet they often refuse to date us. It's a complete injustice." Just, ew.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Minyoung Lee

    Ironic snippets of love and relationships with an extremely self-centered focus--I think Rich did a very good job on catching the essence of what dating is like for our contemporaries. Yet, somehow the prose is not just sarcastic. There is a lot of warmth and honesty hidden between the messages even though you can't help but feel like the author is sipping whole trade coffee through neon Ray-bans while writing all this down on an Apple machine. I suppose it's because no matter how cool one acts, Ironic snippets of love and relationships with an extremely self-centered focus--I think Rich did a very good job on catching the essence of what dating is like for our contemporaries. Yet, somehow the prose is not just sarcastic. There is a lot of warmth and honesty hidden between the messages even though you can't help but feel like the author is sipping whole trade coffee through neon Ray-bans while writing all this down on an Apple machine. I suppose it's because no matter how cool one acts, no matter how much we try to hide it with humor, love is still a very involving experience that forces those engaged to be vulnerable and honest. And this is also the reason why so many authors of this topic, including Simon Rich with this anthology, finds it such a topic of intrigue and something more substantially real than a hidden terrorist attack that can potentially destroy the world as we know it. Great book for a "Child of Dirt" to read right before Valentine's Day. Side note: since the book really is written a lot from the guy's perspective... Do guys really think like this in a lot of their relationships? I always suspected the answer to be yes, but it really is strange that the perspective seems always consistent regardless of the format it takes, including the nonsensical humor approach like this one.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather Colacurcio

    Simon Rich offers up 30 laugh-out-loud short stories in a collection dealing exclusively with the indefatigable topic of love. Separated into three parts, this collection explores what it means to be looking for love, to find love and to lose love. With so many winning stories, it's difficult to highlight the most memorable. In "Unprotected", an unused condom narrates his "life" story, a life spent primarily in a wallet. "I Love Girl" sees a caveman falling in love, not completely understanding Simon Rich offers up 30 laugh-out-loud short stories in a collection dealing exclusively with the indefatigable topic of love. Separated into three parts, this collection explores what it means to be looking for love, to find love and to lose love. With so many winning stories, it's difficult to highlight the most memorable. In "Unprotected", an unused condom narrates his "life" story, a life spent primarily in a wallet. "I Love Girl" sees a caveman falling in love, not completely understanding what love is, but recognizing its power. In "Center of the Universe" God has a big scheduling conflict, as the creation of the universe impedes on his relationship with his girlfriend. "Is It Just Me" follows a man whose ex-girlfriend just started dating Hitler and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" sees the breakdown of Santa's affair with a housewife. All of these stories and much more comprise an imaginative collection of stories that are extraordinarily fun to read. Rich is a breath of fresh air, an original voice that captures love in a humorous, but also poignant way. This one is not to be missed.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    These stories are funny if you think stereotypically clueless men and stereotypically bitchy and insanely demanding women are funny. I don't. I would recommend 'Unprotected', which was comedic gold, everything after that felt very much like it was trying way too hard to be funny. Which it would have been if not for the subject matter - the style and tone were interesting and different, but I found the portrayal of relationships to be demeaning to both genders represented. And not in a satiricall These stories are funny if you think stereotypically clueless men and stereotypically bitchy and insanely demanding women are funny. I don't. I would recommend 'Unprotected', which was comedic gold, everything after that felt very much like it was trying way too hard to be funny. Which it would have been if not for the subject matter - the style and tone were interesting and different, but I found the portrayal of relationships to be demeaning to both genders represented. And not in a satirically exaggerated way - while the circumstances were fantastical and therefore often funny, the motifs and emotions were not. I understand that these stories deal with rejection and miscommunication in relationships, but all I got from it was an almost overwhelming sense of bitterness.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sam Torode

    Laugh-out-loud stories, great imagination... Simon Rich invents absurd situations to capture ordinary emotions.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    First short story is the life of a condom in a wallet from the condom’s point of view. I am definitely already excited for this book. Second is a story about a goat hitting on a 9 year old, so. Less excited about this one as I was about the condom one. Third: a guy tries to force a woman to date him by camping out in front of her apartment and protesting her. As expected, this does not yield results he was hoping for. Fourth: dog missed connections. Short but surprisingly hilarious. Fifth: modern d First short story is the life of a condom in a wallet from the condom’s point of view. I am definitely already excited for this book. Second is a story about a goat hitting on a 9 year old, so. Less excited about this one as I was about the condom one. Third: a guy tries to force a woman to date him by camping out in front of her apartment and protesting her. As expected, this does not yield results he was hoping for. Fourth: dog missed connections. Short but surprisingly hilarious. Fifth: modern day sirens luring boys from “the scene” in music. I always like mythology so this was automatically a winner! Sixth: another modern day myth. Zeus and Hermes are setting up an intervention for Cupid, who has all but stopped spreading love around the world. Seventh: a man gets set up on a blind date with a troll. Wasn’t terribly original, but trolls are entertaining. Eighth: Charles Darwin learns a lesson about mating. Short and decent. Ninth: this one’s gross. A guy wants NASA to give him an assignment where his female coworker has to have sex with him in space. You know, for science. Tenth: a more insightful peace that ends with an observation about how people get themselves fucked up then begged people in public to have sex with them. Eleventh: a man convinces a pretty woman to have a one night stand with him after meeting at a bar. Apparently this is cause for celebration and he gets money and accolades from famous people and journalists. Twelfth: a caveman love story! Surprisingly sweet and one of the better ones so far. Thirteenth: a joke about how a long term relationship with a woman is a prison sentence. Isn’t that just great. Fourteenth: God has a girlfriend! It ends on a surprisingly sweet note. I’m about halfway through the book and so far these are less than thrilling, so this is a positive one. Fifteenth: man doesn’t like that his girlfriend wants him to listen to her. So he pays $45,000 to have her “fixed” because she had “faulty wiring.” Sixteenth: Sherlock Holmes has a cheating, gold-digging girlfriend. But guys, it’s symbolic of how even the most insightful man doesn’t see things he doesn’t want to see, so it’s actually super thoughtful. Duh. Seventeenth: a woman tells her boyfriend she wants to make her list of celebrity exceptions they can have sex with. She puts the man’s brother on her list because he was on Wheel of Fortune once. Real classy Eighteenth: man finds genie. Spends 48 wishes on sex things. Girlfriend is resigned to it because genie says “all men are like this. None ever ask for world peace, just sex things.” Nineteenth: one I don’t hate. Man gains confidence when he agrees to a relationship. Sex aliens try to get him to have sex with them because they smell his confidence. He says no, then later changes his mind and begs them for sex. But now they smell his desperation. Twentieth: man decides to marry mother Theresa. But *gasp* he’s not attracted to her! Almost like sex is part of a relationship or something, so weird! Twenty-first: last woman on earth gets mad at her boyfriend for being protective. Then another woman is found and she’s jealous. Twenty-second: woman decides to date Hitler. Twenty-third: man is “haunted” by his ex’s spirit. A priest tells him to play “the game” by negging and peacocking with girls to get laid. Twenty-fourth: Alex Trebek makes questions on jeopardy about his bitch of an ex wife. Twenty-fifth: woman cheats on her husband for Santa Claus. Santa does not leave Mrs. Claus. Twenty-sixth: man is looking for a woman named Chloe to date because he already has a tattoo of that name. Twenty-seventh: man decides to use his invisibility serum to stalk his ex-girlfriend instead of saving the world. Twenty-eighth: a decent one. Man knows he’s bad for his girlfriend so travels back in time to stop himself from inserting into her life. Twenty-ninth: miserable people are destined to be alone and miserable forever. Thirtieth: mean woman trades her boyfriend for a new one after he doesn’t give her enough compliments. But luckily the shiny new girlfriend is just so perfect and magical! I’m thoroughly disappointed with this book. I have watched the first two seasons of Miracle Workers which is based on this author’s works, and I freaking love that show. This was just a horrible combination of tired, sexist tropes. They’re supposed to be funny but instead I was rolling my eyes at how ridiculous the characters were. Usually the women, of course.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura Jean

    Just a fun fast read. This collection of short stories is fun if you've ever wanted to be in, been in, or been dumped from a relationship. Minor criticism: They are all from a male point of view. So as a woman, especially with the first section of the book, it could be a bit...pathetic...potentially creepy. The author obviously understood this. They are spoofs. He mentions in "Occupy Jen's Street" that 99% of men want the top 1% of women, most of whom will not even consider going on a date with Just a fun fast read. This collection of short stories is fun if you've ever wanted to be in, been in, or been dumped from a relationship. Minor criticism: They are all from a male point of view. So as a woman, especially with the first section of the book, it could be a bit...pathetic...potentially creepy. The author obviously understood this. They are spoofs. He mentions in "Occupy Jen's Street" that 99% of men want the top 1% of women, most of whom will not even consider going on a date with them. So he gets it. But my brain just keeps screaming...."but we don't have to" and "99% of women would like to date the top 1% of men, but we don't bitch about not being able to...and we don't assume that we DESERVE or are ENTITLED to it". But really, he gets it...I'm just extra sensitive. Most of them are pretty hilarious. And I could laugh at myself. The one story about the "first offenders" who are thinking about committing to a relationship has a part where one of the "wardens" takes them on a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, points out a bench and says: "This is the bench you will sit on for TWO hours, while she picks out stuff for your bathroom." So the previous day, my husband spent at least an hour on a bench at Target, while I picked out a swimsuit top. I was just going to go in and grab one...he KNEW better. So again, if you can laugh at yourself, the stories are much funnier. The Present, broke my heart.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    I've read three of his collections and to me, this is by far the weakest. I liked five of the thirty stories, a pretty low percentage. Tastes in comedy are very selective of course, so your mileage may vary, as they say. I'm disappointed but I'll probably give this author at least one more try, because the other two that I read were quite good. Comedy is very hard to pull off. Kudos to him for trying. I've read three of his collections and to me, this is by far the weakest. I liked five of the thirty stories, a pretty low percentage. Tastes in comedy are very selective of course, so your mileage may vary, as they say. I'm disappointed but I'll probably give this author at least one more try, because the other two that I read were quite good. Comedy is very hard to pull off. Kudos to him for trying.

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