Like most people, I knew of Raphael Bob-Waksberg as one of the creative minds behind BoJack Horseman, a sardonic comedy satirizing Hollywood while also hitting me with waves of truth. As a viewer of the show, I was curious when I heard that the creator had written a book.
Raphael Bob-Waksberg. What did he write? Can he write a collection of short stories?
Let’s find out!
I don’t think it’s a shock to say that Bob-Waskberg specializes in finding emotion in the surreal and experimental. BoJack Horseman, after all, features talking animals and scenarios so bizarre it hinges on too much, but always reels everything into a final moment of gut-wrenching realization. Many stories in his collection, Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory, operate on the same notions. The forms they take vary from straightforward (?) prose to admittedly cheesy couplets to a list of monuments in NYC and the ghosts they hold, but the exploration of relationships in his book remain grounded and often too real.
A story I found poignant and wanted to touch upon is the second story in the book, where a soon-to-be-married couple ponder over the amount of goats to be sacrificed to the Stone God at their wedding. It seems comical, but the roots -- the burden of tradition and expectation for the perfect wedding -- reveal themselves to be prevalent. That’s the theme with those stories -- wrenching the real from the surreal. In fact, despite the fanfare of superpowers and goats, some of the stories where it hits the hardest are the ones where Bob-Waksberg explores the uncanny crevices of an undeniable reality, where the stories are allowed to be hopelessly vulnerable.
There is a joy to be had in the simplistic, almost rambling tone the book takes at certain points, as if the author had decided to tell you stories amidst waves of emotions. “Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory” is refreshing in the way it depicts fragments of everyday lives in extraordinary premises. It’s a book where you marvel at both the hits and the misses, but nevertheless read again.