Free-Range Chickens

Simon Rich, Author Random House (NY) $17 (129p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6589-9
Rich, an author and Saturday Night Live writer, delivers a punch-and-jab gigglefest in his follow-up to the similarly chaotic Ant Farm. A slim book of short takes, Rich doesn't stray far from his formula-many of these pieces would work as mercifully brief (and funny) SNL skits-but it's a formula that delivers a laugh on every page. Split into thematic sections-Growing Up, Going to Work, Daily Life, Relationships, Animals and God-Rich's twisted observations are often dark, especially in the Growing Up portion; ""terrifying childhood experiences"" include ""peek-a-boo,"" and the people hiding in 7-year-old Rich's closet (Freddy Krueger, Chucky, a murderer, his dead uncle, and his doctor) pine, ""Man, I cannot wait to kill this kid."" Rich offers this brand of humor in a wide range of flavors, going, for instance, directly from Pheidippides of 490 B.C. to an ""All-you-can-eat buffet fantasy"" in the Daily Life portion. Still, there isn't much here that's not laugh-out-loud funny, perfect for rainy-day/toilet-top browsing or one long, painful guffawathon.
Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 105 pages - 978-1-58836-732-7
Paperback - 129 pages - 978-0-8129-7711-0
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