I haven’t watched more than a few episodes of BoJack Horseman, the Netflix show the author created and produced. But Steve (who is a mega-fan) picked this book of short stories for our book club, and despite being unfamiliar with any others works from this author, I sincerely enjoyed these stories.
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The summary, from Amazon:
From the creator of the beloved and universally acclaimed television series BoJack Horseman, a fabulously off-beat collection of short stories about love—the best and worst thing in the universe.
“Complex, daring, emotional, and unique, with notes of melancholic brilliance and an aftertaste of subtle elation: it is hard to describe the writing of Raphael Bob-Waksberg without sounding like Frasier discussing wine.”
—B. J. Novak, author of One More Thing
Written with all the scathing dark humor that is a hallmark of BoJack Horseman, Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s stories will make you laugh, weep, and shiver in uncomfortably delicious recognition. In “A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion,” a young couple engaged to be married is forced to deal with interfering relatives dictating the appropriate number of ritual goat sacrifices for their wedding. “Missed Connection—m4w” is the tragicomic tale of a pair of lonely commuters eternally failing to make that longed-for contact. And in “More of the You That You Already Are,” a struggling employee at a theme park of dead presidents finds that love can’t be genetically modified.
Equally at home with the surreal and the painfully relatable (and both at once), Bob-Waksberg delivers a killer combination of humor, romance, whimsy, cultural commentary, and crushing emotional vulnerability.
Buy Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory here.
Someone Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory is a collection of short stories by Raphael Bob-Waksberg. I feel like I knew a man created BoJack, and I knew the author created BoJack, but I must have misread the author’s name as Rachel initially because I pictured a woman as the author of this one. Not that it really matters, but I do think that counts for something in that the women characters felt relatable and believable to me, an Actual Woman.
Many of the stories fall into speculative fiction, while some are realistic. Some take only a few minutes to read, while others were longer and took me about half an hour. Most of the stories made me laugh, and one made me cry a few times. I’ll share my favorites and what they were about:
A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion is from the point of view of a groom leading up to the wedding day in a fantastical world that celebrates a cult-like religion with a very ancient feel to it. The bride and groom have one idea of how they want their wedding, but friends and family feel certain traditions, including intense sacrifices among the most tame of them, must be respected.
These Are Facts is from the point of view of a young woman the summer between high school and college. She goes on a vacation with her parents and the older half-brother she doesn’t know very well. It’s about her relationship with her brother, and it made me an emotional wreck despite being an only child.
More of You That You Already Are is about a man who works at a president-themed amusement park to support his mother and sister, the latter of whom has cancer. He plays Chester Arthur, a pretty forgettable president, but feels pressure to keep his job when a lab-created genetic experiment threatens his position.
This was a really fun read with some wild and relatable stories. I give it 5 stars.
I’ll end with my favorite quotes from this title:
“I never thought I could be this happy,” she imagined one day saying to someone.
There are two kinds of people, he thought: the people you don’t want to touch because you’re afraid you’re going to break them, and the people you want to break.
And you’ll smile at this man and wonder if he too, like all those who came before him, will someday be a bittersweet memory, will someday be felled by the same foolish blunder of knowing you a little too well and yet also somehow not enough.
If I tell you I can’t count all the times I’ve made the wrong call, chosen the wrong words, taken the wrong path, please know I’m not saying it to be modest about my counting skills, which I assure you are more than adequate.
I am only as good as I am, and I could only do what the person as good as I am could do.
…it kind of as a joke and kind of for real, the way eighteen-year-olds do everything…
You can write it all down, you can put it in your book of facts, but the truth is no one can ever really understand the tangle of experiences and passions that makes you who you are. It’s a secret collection, a private language, a pebble in your pocket that you play with when you’re anxious, hard as geometry, smooth as soap.
You know, for old times’ sake. You know, for the sake of the old times. All those old times that would be really disappointed if you didn’t fool around again, you owe it to them. Those times. Of old. This isn’t a reconciliation, and don’t fool yourself into thinking this is closure. It’s something in the middle. Is it even something? Perhaps, in the loosest sense of the word “something.” It’s not quite something but slightly more than nothing, this. It’s like a movie adaptation of your favorite novel, a theme park ride version of your favorite movie. It’s a Xerox of a Xerox, a shadow of a ghost. It’s gluten-free pasta, this. But at least it’s pasta.
A person’s a thing that is tricky to read, but it’s trickier yet to feel read.
Find out more about how I rate books here.
Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I actually haven’t watched much of Bojack but I devoured this one. I genuinely liked all of the stories, and most of them made me laugh. One made me cry quite a few times. I genuinely enjoyed and related to this one.
Book Club Questions
- Are any themes of this found in Bob-Waksberg’s other works (like BoJack Horseman)?
- What was your favorite story? Why?
- Which character did you relate to the most?
Interested? Buy Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory.
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