Table of Contents
A Promising Debut by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Raphael Bob-Waksberg, the brilliant mind behind the hit Netflix series BoJack Horseman, delivers a fascinating collection of short stories in his latest book, Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory. This captivating anthology explores the complexities of relationships, shifting between hopeful optimism and poignant cynicism.
An Unexpected Date
The book opens with a tale of an internet date that starts off promisingly. The woman finds her date to be handsome, charming, and true to his online persona. However, things take an unexpected turn when he offers her a can of cashews that appears suspiciously like a novelty prank. Faced with uncertainty, the woman hesitates, torn between embracing vulnerability and maintaining self-protective caution.
Exploring Alternate Realities
In “We Men of Science,” Bob-Waksberg introduces us to a science professor who invents an “Anti-Door” – a portal to an alternate universe where everything is the opposite of our reality. When he walks through the Anti-Door, he encounters an alternate version of himself, as well as an intriguing version of his wife. The story humorously delves into the expectations and complexities of love, culminating in a darkly amusing twist.
Extraordinary Scenarios, Human Relationships
Bob-Waksberg’s talent for crafting extraordinary scenarios with a touch of realism shines through in stories like “A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion” and “Up-and-Comers.” These tales transport us to bizarre worlds where wedding rituals involve goat sacrifices and performing mythical dances, and where a band gains superpowers that can only be activated while intoxicated. Amidst the fantastical elements, the author skillfully explores the peculiarities of human relationships, emphasizing that the strangest things can be found in our everyday lives.
The Beauty of Realism
While Bob-Waksberg’s imagination knows no bounds, his writing truly excels when he delves into the familiar, without relying on superheroes or alternate universes. The standout story in this collection, “These Are Facts,” follows Heather, a recent high school graduate embarking on a family trip to Mexico. Here, the author masterfully captures the delicate development of an unlikely friendship between Heather and her estranged half-brother, West. This poignant and restrained narrative showcases Bob-Waksberg’s keen observation of the complexities found within family relationships.
A Few Missteps
Although the collection as a whole is commendable, a few stories fall short of the mark. In “Rufus,” told from the perspective of a dog named Rufus, the whimsical concept feels cliché and sentimental, lacking a compelling purpose beyond the obvious notion that dogs see humans as peculiar but love them nonetheless. Similarly, “the poem” struggles to make an impact, as the verse distracts from the overall narrative, giving it an overly earnest and mediocre feel.
A Mixed Bag with Promise
Despite some occasional missteps, Bob-Waksberg’s willingness to take risks is admirable. The inclusion of second-person narration in several stories proves to be a successful choice, adding an engaging layer to the storytelling. While the book may have its ups and downs, it undeniably contains outstanding work that showcases the author’s potential as a skilled fiction writer.
In conclusion, Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory is a respectable collection that offers readers a glimpse into the fascinating and intricate world of relationships. Bob-Waksberg’s creative storytelling and profound insights make this debut anthology a promising introduction to his foray into the realm of fiction.