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Side Effects Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1986


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345343352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345343352
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Before Woody Allen set his sights on becoming the next Ingmar Bergman, he made a fleeting (but largely successful) attempt at becoming the next S.J Perelman. Side Effects, his third and final collection of humor pieces, shows his efforts. These essays appeared in The New Yorker during the late 1970s, as he showed more and more discontent with his funnyman status. Fear not, humor fans--Allen's still funny. He is less manic, however, than in his positively goofy Getting Even/Without Feathers days, and this makes Side Effects a more nuanced read. Woody picks and chooses when to flash the laughs, as in an article discussing UFOs:
[I]n 1822 Goethe himself notes a strange celestial phenomenon. "En route home from the Leipzig Anxiety Festival," he wrote, "I was crossing a meadow, when I chanced to look up and saw several fiery red balls suddenly appear in the southern sky. They descended at a great rate of speed and began chasing me. I screamed that I was a genius and consequently could not run very fast, but my words were wasted. I became enraged and shouted imprecations at them, whereupon they flew away frightened. I related this story to Beethoven, not realizing he had already gone deaf, and he smiled and nodded and said, "Right."
Though not as explosively, mind-alteringly funny as his earlier books, Side Effects is still loaded with chuckles; the much-anthologized "Kugelmass Episode" is worth the price of the book. For fans of his films--or for anyone who wants a final glimpse of Woody in his first, best role as court jester, Side Effects is a must-have. --Michael Gerber

From the Inside Flap

A humor classic by one of the funniest writers today, SIDE EFFECTS is a treat for all those who know his work and those just discovering how gifted he is. Included here are such classics as REMEMBERING NEEDLEMAN, THE KUGELMASS EPISODE, a new sory called CONFESSIONS OF A BUGLAR, and more.

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Customer Reviews

There's a dozen or so funny essays or short stories in Side Effects.
DLynn
This is a hilarious collection of humorous articles that Woody Allen wrote for the New Yorker in the 70s.
David Bonesteel
They're humorous, beautiful, and intelligent in the usual Allen fashion.
R. Swaney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By F. Orion Pozo on July 9, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Side Effects is a collection of short humorous essays written by Woody Allen 30 years ago. It is his third book and still very funny. Much of the humor is based in New York and Jewish cultural idioms with a sprinkling of mock intelligentsia - all with the neurotic, self-absorbed insecure point of view that he made famous.

The first piece, "Remembering Needleman," is a satirical take off on scholarly obituaries. Only Woody Allen would think of bringing marshmallows to a cremation and to donate the ashes to a university for research.

"The Condemned" takes a humorous look at Elie Weisel's Dawn where a man must decide whether to kill a truly evil person.

"By Destiny Denied" is 7 pages of notes for an 800 page novel that was never meant to be written.

"The UFO Menace" is Allen's take on the existence of UFOs.

"My Apology" puts Woody Allen in Socrates' place as he faces death by hemlock.

In "The Kugelmass Episode" the protagonist finds a magic way to cheat on his wife by going back in literature to have an affair with Emma Bovary.

In "My Speech to the Graduates" we find Allen's philosophy most succinctly spelled out: "We are a people who lack definite goals. We have never learned to love. We lack leaders and coherent programs. We have no spiritual center. We are adrift alone in the cosmos wreaking monstrous violence on one another out of frustration and pain. Fortunately, we have not lost our sense of proportion."

"The Diet" explores the insecurities often associated with working in corporate America. A person only identified as F. deals with his work problems by taking control of the only thing he can - his food intake.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Schratz on July 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought that this book was not as good as Without Feathers or Getting Even. Certain points are funny, even hilarious. However, there are largely unfunny passages such as "Retribution". However, there are a few good vignettes, most notably "Confessions of a Burglar" and "Nefarious Times We Live In". If you've already read his other books, this still has some laughs; if not, I recommend his two previous selections.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rustmanic on August 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Allen's style hasn't been duplicated in thirty years. How could anyone attempt to copy him--his creativity has its own realm. Side Effects is a must for any home library. I've read it over and over, and every time I pick it up, I laugh just as hard as the time before. Just like good music, true comedy doesn't get worn out by repetitiveness. This book and SeinLanguage by Jerry Seinfeld are my two favorite humor books. And I'm still waiting for a Steven Wright compilation, by the way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thor Vader on July 9, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is the third in a collection of short stories by Woody Allen that includes Getting Even and Without Feathers. As with the other books, I found the book entirely delightful as well as a very quick read. As in any collection of short stories, some are better than others, but there are at least three classics that make the purchase worthwhile regardless of how you feel about the others.
In this book Woody Allen keeps the one-liners coming at such a pace that I cannot believe anyone could be so witty. His writing is always filled with puns and intentional misdirection that keep the reader actively involved in the book. I found myself reading the stories straight though, and finished the book in two sittings, though each story is short enough to read on the fly when you have some extra time.
If you are a fan of Woody Allen, then this book is another in your obligation to get more Woody. If you don't like his movies, then you will likely not like this book, as his idiosyncratic mannerisms come across in the writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book is HILARIOUS and if you are feeling low or disheartned just read this and your problems will seem half smaller by comparing them to the outrageously silly situations the characters from the book have to deal with. I suggest the book to be read in private to prevent embarrassment in public because you will burst into laughter after the first few sentences for sure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anthony G Pizza VINE VOICE on July 29, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Those coming to know Woody Allen from his legendary film work or infamous personal scandals will find uproarious laughter and glimpses of insight in "Side Effects." This is third in a collection of short stories and essays Allen wrote mostly for the New Yorker during his late 70s commercial/creative peak.
Those strictly seeking laughs from a master will find them in one-act playlets like "The Query" and "My Apology" and in vignettes like "Reminisces: Places and People." Each focusing on death, they underline Carol Burnett's observation "Comedy is tragedy plus time." (Alan Alda recited this line as a smarmy TV personality in Allen's 1990 "Crimes and Misdermeanors.") But Allen also unintentionally, tragicomically mixes asides and references to fallen icons like OJ Simpson, the World Trade Center (constant symbol of size here) and even Igor Stravinsky (an allegory for sophistication and complexity.)
Yet Allen maintains his unparalleled character detail and nuance even in this short format (Few stories are more than six pages and are easily readable at one sitting.) You come to care for the TV producer who consoles a friend and eyes a nurse in "The Shallowest Man." You feel a painful twinge at the father-son dialogue closing the otherwise nonsensical "The Diet." You also sense the balding, hairy Kugelmass' giddy joy as he romances Emma Bovary and changes literature in "Kugelmass Episode." (Few main male characters in Allen's stories here are as attractive as the women they pursue.
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