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Stories from a Moron: Real Stories Rejected by Real Magazines Hardcover – November 25, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
This author's name must strike terror in the souls of editors across the country: after all, his hobby is writing purposefully mediocre stories and submitting them to the wrong magazines. When an editor tells Broth that his material isn't suitable, Broth peppers his original story with mentions of whatever the magazine's focus happens to be, bolds and underlines them, and sends the piece back. As one editor writes to Broth, "I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry...you just wasted your money and my time." It's pretty funny at first, and we laugh along with the bemused Fencers' Quarterly editor. But what about the painfully earnest group at the helm of an Amish magazine and the countless busy editors of very specific publications (Rug Hooking, I Love Cats Magazine, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) who are being asked to read such inanities? Most editors try to give Broth some kind of guidance the first time he sends them his inappropriate-occasionally sordid, often boring-stories. Soon it seems as if we're watching Broth thumb his nose at people trying to help him, and eventually we must wonder what else he might have been able to accomplish with the amount of effort he put into confusing and frustrating editors. He might have improved his writing, for example. But for a book of one-note gags, this does offer some good laughs.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A poor man's John Updike (albeit less prolific) wrapped in the sardonic cloak of Seinfeld creator Larry David (and how fitting it is that Jerry Seinfeld provides the introduction), Broth presents a set of stories bracketed by reprinted rejection letters from irate editors, and no wonder. Broth chose to submit to magazines wholly ill suited for his work. For instance, he sends "New Clothesline"--a spry look at neighborly relations regarding dirty clothes being hung between windows--to Fencers Quarterly Magazine. In response, the editor in chief writes, "Sorry . . . we publish material related to the sport of fencing." So Broth submits a rewrite that includes only a very brief mention of fencing and several inserted pictures from the magazine. Naturally, the editor is furious. Broth launches similar attacks on a dozen other inappropriate magazines, and the ensuing dialogues with editors are riotously funny. Given the harsh realities of the publishing world, this book should be mandatory reading for every graduate writing and publishing course. Mark Eleveld
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
I was one of "Ed Broth's" editorial contactees for this book (FENCERS QUARTERLY MAGAZINE). From day one, I just thought this individual was a raving looney. He kept submitting stories to me about his underwear and shorty pajamas, which really had nothing at all to do with the type of magazine I publish. My greatest fear was that "Ed" would show up unannounced on my front porch dressed in said shortie pajamas. The guy seemed kind of obsessed about his p.j.'s. It was a great relief to find out that his submissions were actually part of a book.
With that said, "Stories from a Moron" is very funny. In fact, it gets funnier on subsequent readings (I think). "Ed Broth's" unflagging literary assaults on reality, pushing his stuff energetically at the wrongest of wrong magazine markets, over and over and over again, made me laugh so hard, my wife, who is a nurse, thought I was choking on food.
"Stories from Moron" is the funniest book I've read in a long time.
This is by far one of the best books that Jerry Seinfeld wrote (aka Ted L. Nancy, Ed Broth). I own the complete "Letters From A Nut" series and still laugh out loud every time I read it.
Whether its "Conjugal Cal" or Ed's "possessed" shorty pajamas this book has it all with such submissions to odd magazines such as "Steamboat Magazine," "Muzzle Blasts," and "Sandlapper Magazine" surely ensue hilarity.
This is a must read for anyone! Those who have read "Letters From A Nut" will find it even funnier with all the past references (Sandlapper, George Harrison Meatloaf)
The premise of the book is that Ed Broth is crafting these silly stories and sending them in for review by publishers. The book is composed of the stories and the exchanges sent back and forth regarding the stories. It's a humorous premise but the execution was lacking. The stories are short, rarely more than 2 pages, but they, as you work through the book, become a bore to work through. It seemed like every story had the same set of themes. So, each new story that is presented is like re-reading the same thing over again. This goes on throughout the book. Of course, one can skim the stories and just read the replies. Sadly, the replies received are rarely more than just form letters. Editors probably receive plenty of terrible stories like the ones in this book all the time and so few bother to respond with a personal remark.
So that left me with the fact that I was reading these terrible stories and the payoff of a humorous response never came from the editor. In contrast, Letters from a Nut works because Seinfeld is writing to customer service depts that have to deal with each request separately. In this book, he's just sending the same question [Will you publish this?] over and over again. The response is always going to be no so there's nothing to really laugh about in the responses.
There are a few bits in the book that made me laugh and at the bargain price I got it for from Amazon, I'm not terribly upset with the book, I would have just preferred another volume in the Letters series.
A perscription to cure depression and bad moods.
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