Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish: The Heeb Sto­ry­telling Collection

Shana Lieb­man, ed.
  • Review
By – August 24, 2011
The essen­tial prob­lem with Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish, a selec­tion of sto­ries adapt­ed from the Heeb Mag­a­zine Sto­ry­telling Col­lec­tion, is that much of its con­tent los­es its tang in the tran­si­tion from the stage to the page. Admit­ted­ly, many of the anec­dotes are fun— in the sense that they describe out­ra­geous, humil­i­at­ing, or exhil­a­rat­ing events — yet they read like what they are: spo­ken-word pieces that nev­er quite meta­mor­phosed into full­fledged short sto­ries. Per­haps when per­formed, with tone of voice and facial expres­sions to car­ry them, they might hit the mark. But as short sto­ries in a book, these arrows fall well short of the tar­get.

Even the entries in Sex” that feel com­plete aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly good: Many fail to ful­fill the basic prin­ci­ples of short sto­ry writ­ing, whether through under­de­vel­oped char­ac­ters or impre­cise nar­ra­tive arcs. Sev­er­al feel like vague sketch­es and one ends with an unfor­giv­able cliché. That said, some of the best pieces are tru­ly charm­ing, skill­ful­ly com­posed, and gen­uine­ly fun­ny. A few are poignant, a few tru­ly orig­i­nal, and for a Jew (or Gen­tile) look­ing for a quick chuck­le, these few are a joy to read.
Joshua Daniel Edwin was born into a fam­i­ly of incur­ably com­pul­sive read­ers in Bal­ti­more, MD. He now lives in Brook­lyn, and is a stu­dent in Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty’s MFA pro­gram in Cre­ative Writing.

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