Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Book Review: "Big Time" by Jen Spyra

Big Time is a sharply funny, often utterly crazy debut story collection, which left me smirking throughout and sometimes even laughing out loud.

When you have a book written by a former staff writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Onion, you know you’re in for a wild ride. And that’s certainly the case with Jen Spyra’s debut collection.

The 14 stories are in this book are sarcastic, creative, downright wacky, and sometimes even totally bizarre, but they certainly were never dull. Spyra has a memorable voice and while at times I thought a few of the stories went a bit too far (at the very least), I found many of them really entertaining.

Among my favorites: “The Snowman,” in which a boy gets far more than he imagined when his snowman pal comes to life (I don’t think Jimmy Durante would narrate this!); “The Adventure of the Mistaken Right Swipe,” about a woman who finds a unique boyfriend on a dating app; “First Kid Second Kid,” which contrasts different parenting approaches between children; and “The First Influencer,” about the power of persuasion before the internet existed.

These stories are sometimes a little graphic in terms of their language and imagery (nothing awful, but just worth an FYI for some), and at times you wonder where Spyra came up with some of her ideas. But when a story hit on all cylinders, I actually laughed until I nearly cried more than a few times.

Random House provided me a complimentary advance copy of Big Time in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!

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