Bream Gives Me Hiccups

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Bream Gives Me HiccupsBream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg
Published: 2015
Narrated by: Jesse Eisenberg, Hallie Eisenberg, Annapurna Sriram, Erin Darke, Colin Nissan
Length: 04:28 (273 pages)

I picked this up because I thought it would be a good audiobook to have while in Hawaii. I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of time to read, so a smaller book of short stories or essays seemed like the perfect choice. Unfortunately I started it on a dog walk a couple of days before leaving and managed to finished it before we even stepped on a plane.

I like Jesse Eisenberg in his film roles, and he seems like a funny and smart guy in the few interviews I’ve seen, so I figured why not give this a try. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was happily surprised to find a mix between Woody Allen and David Sedaris, and it was hilarious from start to finish.

There’s a wide mix of topics in this, as well as a wide mix of formats. The title story, Bream Gives Me Hiccups: Restaurant Reviews from a Privileged Nine-Year Old, follows a boy writing reviews of the restaurants his newly separated mother drags him to, and the reviews act as a journal for his life. Also written in the form of letters is My Roommate Stole my Ramen, which is a series of letters from a neurotic university freshmen to her high school Councillor, and An email exchange with my first girlfriend, which at a certain point is taken over by my older sister, a college student studying the Bosnian genocide, which is just what the title says (as with many of these stories).

Some of these can almost be thought of as short skits, particularly when listened to on audiobook. Men and Dancing is a hilarious selection of conversations throughout history of people trying to get men, who don’t want to dance, to dance. This is something with which I easily relate. A bully does his research shows the devastation a bully could cause if they just did a bit of personal research before making fun of someone. Alexander Graham Bell’s first five phone calls details his awkward conversations about trying to call a girl, after giving her the world’s third phone.

“Hey Watson, guess who? Yeah, it’s me, it’s Aleck. How’d you know? But I was doing a voice!

There are so many stories in here that I just loved, many I haven’t even mentioned. Even just the story titles in this are hilarious. Many of the pieces in this collection have been published before, in The New Yorker or McSweeney’s, so I thought I’d just list the contents here and link to the articles that came up on a quick search:

Definitely give a few of the linked articles a try, and pick this up if those work for you. I was really blown away by how much I enjoyed this, and his narration on the audiobook (helped by his sister and a few others) was fantastic. I have a feeling he’ll be publishing a few of these collections in the course of his career, so I’ll be happily picking up the next one that’s released.

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