The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich

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The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich

Category: Short Stories
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Quite simply the best and most humorous couple of dozen short stories on one warm and enjoyable theme one could wish for.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: January 2013
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
ISBN: 9781846689215

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There is more opportunity than ever these days to downsize your library. You can take all those lumpen classics to the charity shop now that they can be downloaded for free onto an e-reader. And with these couple of hundred pages you can also divest yourself of a heck of a lot of fiction about love, for this can easily replace so much you've read at greater length, with less imagination and with much less humour elsewhere. That hyperbole is only partly inspired by the style of the contents, for it really is that good.

Hyperbole is writ suitably large here, in these many diverse looks at what we call love. 'Victory' takes it to the nth degree, showing just how euphoric (and rare!) it can feel to have a successful date with someone. Elsewhere there is bravura writing – a relationship as portrayed by an unused condom, for example. Other stories take common sayings about love and spoof on them, or use obvious metaphors – a student protest, a girl with her goat friend, connecting in modern NYC with a siren, or the allegory of an Aladdin's lamp for the internet - trust me, all these will make much more sense once you've read these pages.

Some are down to the level of a very successful literary skit, as in canine personals, or the sight of Cupid's success dying off for very unlikely reasons. I did expect some of this to be flash fiction, but it isn't – every piece has a sturdy grounding in comedy, and the writer's credentials and imagination are thrust to the fore. There simply isn't a weak link. Nor is it several things it might have been – it's not too New York, it’s not too Jewish, it's not too masculine, despite a great majority of narrators or main characters being fellas. The small piece of a smart scientist just incapable of seeing what is directly in front of him would appeal to both genders, for sure, and it embodies the cynical stance[:Category:Simon Rich|Rich]] so richly conveys – although it does help me flag the book up as perhaps rather too heterosexual for its own good.

The quantity of successful scenarios, enjoyable twists and great punchlines mean I have managed to mention many of the contents and still left a whole host of great writing completely unreferenced – there is a list of the 'guest appearances' I could have quoted as well that equally shows up the enjoyably quirky approach. I just have to give this book the maximum rating, for a title with so many varied contents, continuously being hit-and-hit with never a miss in sight, is a rare thing indeed. Like a favourite TV sketch programme that we willingly welcome into our homes whenever it is repeated, this really does have the legs to generate such enjoyable familiarity and staying power.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Jammy Dodger by Kevin Smith has tickled our funny bones muchly recently.

Buy The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich at Amazon.com.


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