Cover image for Spoiled brats : stories
Spoiled brats : stories
Rich, Simon.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Short stories. Selections
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
Physical Description:
209 pages ; 22 cm
"A collection of stories culled from the front lines of the millennial culture wars. Rife with failing rock bands, student loans, and participation trophies, [this book] is about a generation of narcissists--and the well-meaning boomers who made them that way"--
Animals -- Gifted -- Semester abroad -- Sell out -- Guys walks into a bar -- Family business -- The tribal rite of the Strombergs -- Distractions -- Played out -- Rip -- Elf on the shelf -- Upper East Side ghosts -- Big break.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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Twenty years ago, Barney the Dinosaur told the nation's children they were special. We're still paying the price.

From "one of the funniest writers in America"* comes a collection of stories culled from the front lines of the millennial culture wars. Rife with failing rock bands, student loans, and participation trophies, Spoiled Brats is about a generation of narcissists-and the well-meaning boomers who made them that way.

A hardworking immigrant is preserved for a century in pickle brine. A helicopter mom strives to educate her demon son. And a family of hamsters struggles to survive in a private-school homeroom.

Surreal, shrewd, and surprisingly warm, these stories are as resonant as they are hilarious.

*Jimmy So, Daily Beast

Author Notes

Simon Rich is the author of The Last Girlfriend on Earth, What in God's Name, Ant Farm, Free-Range Chickens, and Elliot Allagash. His work appears frequently in The New Yorker . He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When a book opens with a story narrated by a classroom hamster desperate to protect his family from a gang of second-graders, the reader knows to expect something unusual between the covers. Other stories in Rich's (Elliot Allagash, 2010) collection feature a self-absorbed college student spending her semester abroad on Saturn, a pushy mom in denial about her son's monstrousness (he is an actual monster), and a chimp who dreams of a career in sign language. In the longest story, Selling Out, Herschel Rich, a Jewish immigrant, falls into a vat of brine in a pickle factory and wakes up 100 years later, perfectly preserved. He moves in with his great-great grandson (named Simon Rich) and finds little to like about modern-day Brooklyn until he starts pickling cucumbers salvaged from a dumpster behind Whole Foods and realizes his own version of the American dream. Rich takes on many of the preoccupations of contemporary culture with sly wit and a wacky sensibility.--Quinn, Mary Ellen Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his newest story collection, humorist and screenwriter Rich (The Last Girlfriend on Earth) uses space travel, weird science, and talking animals to knock narcissistic millennials and New York high society down to size. In the futuristic "Semester Abroad," a college student studying on Saturn (where the food "tastes like straight ass") obsesses about her boyfriend while an interplanetary war decimates her host society. In "Rip," a brilliant retelling of the Rip Van Winkle fable, a 27-year-old low-life and aspiring blogger falls asleep for three years and wakes to find that his friends have become sashimi-eating yuppies. Two of the best entries feature a character named Simon Rich, usually in the role of brat-villain. "Animals" centers on a hamster whose family Rich, the "class clown" at a hoity-toity New York elementary school, has neglected to feed. And the novella-length "Sell Out" tells the story of a Polish immigrant who, after being preserved in brining fluid for a century, wakes in present-day Brooklyn and, with no help from his self-obsessed great-great-grandson Simon, becomes an overnight hipster celebrity. Throughout the collection, Rich skewers helicopter parenting, Gen-Me technophilia, and late-capitalist malaise with cruel precision. His occasionally stereotypical female characters and hackneyed resolutions are counterbalanced by on-point details-a club used to maul unhip elders, a post-genocide round of "Never Have I Ever"-that pierce the heart. Agent: Daniel Greenberg, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Rich, former Harvard Lampoon president and former Saturday Night Live staffer, as well as an established author (Last Girlfriend on Earth) and New Yorker contributor, has penned a collection of stories about the narcissistic millennial generation and how they got that way. His hilarious characters include a family of hamsters trying to survive in the fifth-grade classroom of a private school, a chimp who longs to see the world, a demon who just wants to be himself, a pickle maker who is revived after fermenting for 100 years in brine, and the devil himself. Settings vary from Saturn to sewers to the North Pole. Yet every story rings true and provides a rueful reminder of how helicopter moms and conservative dads contribute to the success of their children. The stories parody life in the 21st century and clearly explain where we all went wrong. VERDICT Recommended as funny and insightful reading. [See Prepub Alert, 5/6/14.]-Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.