Genre: Satire/Humor/Short Story Collection
“Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt is a fantastically funny, wonderfully weird, and surprisingly sincere collection of short stories, humor pieces, and miscellaneous bits. In this explosively original debut, Libby Marshall plumbs the depths of suburban despair, female desire, and the ever-present feeling that death could claim us at any moment.
Debra, an unhappy billionaire’s wife, decides to resurrect the 18th-century trend of hiring a man to live on their property as an ornamental garden hermit. An elderly serial killer, bored by her dull nursing home existence, finds a deadly new purpose when her high school nemesis ends up living down the hall. In 1953 a young couple drives to Makeout Point where instead of an evening of heavy petting, they find mountain lions, a man with no gaps in his teeth, and the opportunity to kill Henry Kissinger. Within these pages, a man tries to date after losing his wife to The Salem Witch Trials, a Wi-Fi router gains sentience, a series of cardboard boxes oozing with smoky-sweet baked beans mysteriously appear at a woman’s front door, and a Chuck E. Cheese is haunted by the spirit of Princess Diana.
Boldly strange, deliciously satirical, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt swings from the grim and ghastly to the exquisite and lovely. This one-of-a-kind book takes the reader on a surreal journey through the compulsory despair of daily life and concludes that the only sensible reaction to that much pain is laughter.”
Based in Chicago, Libby Marshall is a comedic actress, performing solo and in sketch and improv shows. Her writing has appeared in multiple publications. This is her first book.
I could imagine someone being put off by the title of this book. But the reality is, good satire is humorous while exposing what is wrong with the actions, people, or ideas being satirized. Although the short stories in this collection have some dark moments due to some of the characters being satirized, ultimately the over-the-top ridiculous actions offset any darkness with humor. This is definitely not your typical humorous short story collection, but it was absolutely a fun read, sometimes getting me pondering certain types of people and always entertaining.
Adult language and subjects.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four Stars
Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words.