Bream Gives Me Hiccups is a book of short stories written by Jesse Eisenberg (the actor famous for playing Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network). I requested an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this on a whim and was pleasantly surprised.
I’m finding it difficult to succinctly sum up this book, so I’ll leave it to the publisher: “Bream Gives Me Hiccups moves from contemporary L.A. to the dormrooms of an American college to ancient Pompeii, throwing the reader into a universe of social misfits, reimagined scenes from history, and ridiculous overreactions.”
There is a nine-year-old restaurant reviewer who spends a much time reviewing his mother as he does his food. A teenage girl struggling with her roommate and college, and deals with her anxiety by writing to her high school guidance counselor. A young man dealing with his overbearing and guilt-tripping family. And a few stories of random encounters between strangers. There are stories in all different formats: everything from text messages to traditional short fiction format. I particularly enjoyed the story that interspersed the author’s train of thought with the story he was writing.
This book is incredibly weird, and it is definitely not for everyone. But it is clever and well-written and I found myself laughing out loud several times while reading it. The stories are funny and quirky and awkward – there were even a few moments when I actually caught myself imagining the words being spoken very quickly in Jesse Eisenberg’s voice. I didn’t love all the stories, but did love that there are so many different points of view. There are many ways to be socially awkward, and Jesse Eisenberg captures a lot of them in his book.
I’d recommend Bream Gives me Hiccups to anyone who likes Jesse Eisenberg’s movies, because that is exactly what the experience of reading it felt like. If you’re interested, you can pick up a copy here.
This book was provided to me by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.