“I laughed, I cried, I shot four people.” –Bethany Marie, author of nothing yet
All my friends are dead. is the title of the funniest book I’ve read recently. A summary of the book will refer to it as All My Friends Are Dead, but the title on cover and spine clearly reads All my friends are dead. This is also the first sentence and running joke behind the whole book by Avery Monsen and Jory John. While I didn’t shoot four people, I shared with (read: forced it upon) five; I went around family and friends insisting this book be consumed.
I read it as I’m sure its authors intended it to be enjoyed: sitting alone, in public, and laughing like a crazy person. My personal blurb for the book is a parody of Stephen Colbert on his own book, I Am America (And So Can You!). “I laughed, I cried, I lost 15 pounds!” When a comedian’s word on a physical piece of literature exceeds the pages themselves, the entire book becomes a joke in itself. The fact that the book exists is a wonderful joke I love being a part of. This is a blurb trend that I hope continues.
If blurbs are exclamations of nothing–and I believe they certainly tell you nothing about the content of the book–they might as well be entertaining. While All My Friends Are Dead has no blurbs and has no need of them, I appreciate them on other pieces of literature as comedy. While Craig Ferguson’s American On Purpose is a memoir rather a than a comedy book, Dave Letterman turned it into one with his praise, including “Craig Ferguson is full of shit. Enjoy the book.” Despite the jarring and comedic picture on the front cover, I was adamant about reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants until I read its back cover. “‘I hope that’s not really the cover. That’s really going to hurt sales.’ –Don Fey, father of Tina Fey” This is the real purpose of blurbs: enough honesty to regard a book by its cover, both front and back.
Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!) took it a step further with a fake warning. On the bottom right-hand corner.
WANING! Several reportages of illegal produced issues of this book from Glorious Peoples Republic of China stealing into bookstores. Do not! Buy only likely copies only authorized STEPHEN COLBER’S I AM AMERICA AND SO ARE YOU books like this one itself! –Yours, U.S.A. Publisher.
The authors extended this care of detail far into the depths of its pages , which I’m not going to ruin for you. If you must know what it’s all about, here is a true Colbertian spoiler: buy the book.
I’m not sure if All My Friends Are Dead is children’s book, humor book, or coffee table book. I can see this as an educational kid’s book on the facts of life, but it’s a bit too surprising on these facts at times. Since it’s too small to be a typical coffee table book, I don’t know what else to call it because it’s too funny to be placed among its humor counterparts! The running joke got its start as buttons and t-shirts. (Click here to read an AMA withe the authors on Reddit.) I like the idea of creating a joke before the book. With most books in the humor section these days, I feel like authors want to create the book before they have anything to put in them. They have the concept but no material. What ends up being published is a display of raunchy and repetitive word vomit desperate for someone to like it. Everyone I showed All My Friends Are Dead to laughed when they saw the title, and that was the beginning of their interest. Books can be more than what we thought they were; not an exchange of ideas, but an exchange of laughter. When simply the cover can achieve this, the rest of the book becomes an extension of that joke.
“Totally worth it.” –Trees on Bossypants
Otherwise, I dislike blurbs and humor “gag gift” books that you’re done with almost as soon as you set eyes on them. I like books with meat; I only praise the ones I would want to spend money on. (Click here to buy All my friends are dead.) Blurbs tend to draw me away from the book because they’re either provided by people whose works or personalities I don’t like, or they use cliche terms and provide nothing about the book that benefits me. I think people put blurbs on books just to advertize themselves. I wish they’d not waste my time and just write what Carrie Fisher did. “A great read…almost as good as my memoir.” This comment did nothing to encourage me to read Craig Ferguson’s memoir; I was psyched enough about having acquired it and simply read the blurbs because they were part of the book. All it really did was remind me that these two are friends. Nevertheless, I appreciated those who cared about how little people care about blurbs, and I appreciate it when books themselves can hold their own without all the type—er—hype.
And if I ever have an autobiography or biography, I would like to add my own blurb: “If any of you people use ‘irreverent’ or ‘poignant’ in reference to this book, I’ll poignant your mom.”