I stumbled upon this book because I’m a fan of Bojack Horseman. It’s difficult to tell people, “No, seriously…it’s my favorite show.” I gave it a chance when it first came out, and checked out after two episodes. I thought it was funny, but maybe it was just another run of the mill raunchy animated adult comedy. It wasn’t until the fourth season had dropped that someone recommended it and I gave the show another spin. Had I just kept watching the first season I would’ve been hooked. The quality storytelling just kept getting better right up until Netflix does what Netflix takes joy in doing…you know…cutting a show down before it’s done. I’m eternally grateful that the writers were given a heads up and wrapped up the story as best they could with the time they had. But I digress, those six seasons of television remain among my favorite, and I don’t see anything coming close.
So when I heard that the creator of Bojack Horseman, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, had published a collection of short stories, I jumped at the opportunity for something more. Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory stands on its own as something wholly independent and special, as I had expected it to be. It’s described on the back cover as an, “offbeat collection of short stories about love-the best and worst thing in the universe.” The subject of love is woven throughout each story through different angles. I initially believed I was in for a ride that explored romantic love and romantic love only, as the first 100 pages consist of narratives exploring exactly that. We break from the romantic variety with Rufus, a touching narrative from the perspective of a noble dog who loves his ‘Manmonster.’ While the manmonster engages with romantic partners and other various friendships, the story fixates on the relationship between the dog and person. You Want to Know What Plays Are Like? is a personal favorite that explores the complexities of family through the scope of frayed sibling relationships where our protagonist tells us about seeing a show written by her brother…that happens to be about a vacation they took. Their deceased sibling has her drug issues addressed in the play, a departure from the burden of their shared reality.
Rewind a bit…I fell for this book immediately. I took my daughter to her weekly dance lesson, saw her into the studio, and went to a chair in the waiting room with the intent to break the ice. The first story is two little pages. A quick snippet of style and substance titled Salted Circus Cashews, Swear to God had me laughing in front of strangers as it broke my heart on the same page.
These stories vary in length, ranging from a couple of pages to over 40. The collection isn’t tied to one approach, as we’re offered first, second, and third person accounts throughout. To circle back to the beginning, at a multitude of points I’m reminded of Bojack Horseman and the writing styles used to drive the narratives of the show, specifically, the internal dialog utilized in a day in Bojack’s life from an episode called Stupid Piece of Shit. It’s absurd at times, departing from cultural norms entirely to establish different imagined worlds…like how many goats should be sacrificed at a wedding? This was a lovely read that I truly enjoyed. For fans of the show, or readers who simply want to read about love with weighted nuance, Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory is worth the read.