Published: September 8th, 2015
Publisher: Grove Press
Received: Christmas present
Read from June 15th to 16th, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Taking its title from a group of stories that begin the book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups moves from contemporary L.A. to the dormrooms of an American college to ancient Pompeii, throwing the reader into a universe of social misfits, reimagined scenes from history, and ridiculous overreactions. In one piece, a tense email exchange between a young man and his girlfriend is taken over by the man’s sister, who is obsessed with the Bosnian genocide (The situation reminds me of a little historical blip called the Karadordevo agreement); in another, a college freshman forced to live with a roommate is stunned when one of her ramen packets goes missing (she didn’t have “one” of my ramens. She had a chicken ramen); in another piece, Alexander Graham Bell has teething problems with his invention (I’ve been calling Mabel all day, she doesn’t pick up! Yes, of course I dialed the right number – 2!).
United by Eisenberg’s gift for humor and character, and grouped into chapters that each open with an illustration by award-winning cartoonist Jean Jullien, the witty pieces collected in Bream Gives Me Hiccups explore the various insanities of the modern world, and mark the arrival of a fantastically funny, self-ironic, and original voice.
I am sure there is someone out there who would enjoy this book, but...it's not me. The book gave off the feel of trying to be original but not being enjoyable. Each section (technically, they're each stories, but I'm not sure I'd call them that) is short, and that may have been the only thing that kept me going with the book. There was nothing long that I had to push myself through.
There were a couple of parts that held my interest slightly, but for the most part, I was bored. It's kind of a strange thing because you can tell that Eisenberg was trying to be creative with the way the stories were presented. I just feel like it missed the mark and failed to be humorous in the way it was intended to be.
The right audience for this book would be a small one I think. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, and I doubt I would recommend it to anyone unless I knew they were a huge fan of Eisenberg himself. That's just about the only group I can imagine recommending the book to.