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As an aspiring writer and filmmaker, I spend a lot of time indulging myself in the world of journalism, media and storytelling. However, I haven’t read a single book since eighth grade. Embarrassing, to say the least, but it’s true.

All of that changed when my college writing professor recommended to me my future favorite author, Simon Rich. Immediately, I became obsessed. Simon Rich was the youngest writer on “Saturday Night Live” and has since written numerous scripts for shows and movies for big companies like Pixar.

If you’re looking for reading material that will make you burst out laughing in public, I have just the collection of stories for you:

“Spoiled Brats: Stories” (2014)

By far my favorite of Rich’s work, “Spoiled Brats: Stories” was a book I could easily pick up but never put down. The novel enthralled me so much that I read the entire thing in one day of classes. 

Its leading story is “Sell Out,” which was later adapted into a Seth Rogen film “An American Pickle,” which is charming, but there is so much more in there. 

The first story, “Animals,”  had me almost crying with laughter. “Animals” is centered around a family of hamsters who have to survive a young Simon Rich’s elementary classroom as they have no regard for caring for animals. It’s a bit dark at first, but spoiler alert: it has a happy ending.

“Semester Abroad” entails a teenage girl going abroad to Jupiter in the middle of an intergalactic war, but that’s not nearly as bad as Derek not texting her. I mean, like, why wouldn’t he text her back?

“Free-Range Chickens” (2008)

A dive into the trials and tribulations of growing up, Simon Rich highlights some of his childhood fears in this collection of tales.

One of the most meta, and relatable, is the story of “a conversation between the people who hid in my closet every night when I was seven.” It entails an epic “Infinity War” style crossover event of a murderer from the six o’clock news, Freddy Crueger and “dead uncle whose body I saw at an open casket funeral.”

This collection includes more terrifying childhood experiences like the tooth fairy and someone stealing your nose. Don’t read at night.

“Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations” (2005)

Another collection of stories that trigger the sweet sensation of nostalgia. It also speaks such truth and realness, like “a conversation at the grown-ups’ table as imagined at the kids’ table”:

GRANDMOTHER: Did you see the politics? It made me angry.

DAD: Me too. When it was over, I had sex.

UNCLE: I’m having sex right now.

DAD: We all are. 

I’m being 100% honest, I really did think that is what was going on over there.

Rich also includes an authentic account of the second-grade realization that the Silent Game is no game at all. Another fun and nostalgia-invoking collection by comedy genius, Simon Rich.

Simon Rich’s collection of stories are commentary on the irony, ignorance and idiocracy that exists in our world, all disguised in comical and ridiculous short stories.

Avery Nixon

Montclair '25

A television and film major, with a minor in creative writing, and aspiring screenwriting who is taking her first step as a writer for multiple organizations at Montclair State University.
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