RaveA.V. ClubHis literary exploration of love and loss is certainly as cogent, incisive, and gut-wrenching as any season of BoJack. But wherever he honed it, Bob-Waksberg’s mastery of episodic storytelling, along with an uncanny knack for tragicomedy, is on full display in his debut collection ... As with his series, Bob-Waksberg explores the human psyche through the surreal, using offbeat stories to reveal truths about our relationships with ourselves, each other, and even our pets ... Bob-Waksberg’s evocative prose opens up strange new realms and familiar sites of drudgery alike ... Here are 18 reminders that not all loss is tragic, not all love is all-consuming, and not every happy ending lasts forever; and these truths are more comforting than any fairy tale.
PositiveA.V. Club\"... incredibly eloquent and ambitious ... Lost Children Archive feels just as timeless as it is pertinent ... Reading Lost Children Archive, it’s hard not to marvel at Luiselli’s technique ... But like the sunlight that pours in through the windshield on a journey westward, her writing, while dazzling, can sometimes make you lose sight of the very themes and relationships she’s developing. Luiselli’s prose is very considered; it often feels like she’s trying to find a way to tell the larger story in each sentence, rather than allowing them to accumulate ... Lost Children Archive doesn’t fail for succeeding—beautiful writing is still beautiful writing—but the unintentional result is that the experimentation in form, switching from a kind of journaling to the more intimate firsthand account of a 10-year-old boy, can come off as oddly detached ... when Lost Children Archive concerns itself more with the destination than the journey, it loses its vitality.\
Anne Helen Petersen
PositiveThe AV ClubThere’s a lot to unpack in her heavily annotated writings, but she utilizes the same accessible style that’s helped her readers take in contemporary feminist theory and 19th-century literary criticism in discussions of chick lit. Even those who believe the nation’s clock hasn’t been set back 60 years in the last 150 days will be engrossed by these women’s journeys ... Heading toward the conclusion, Petersen expands her scope for the chapters on Weiner and Dunham to discuss high and low culture (or avant-garde and mass culture), as well as the complicated relationship between the naked and the nude. And while those writings are certainly compelling, her choice of focal points can feel slightly more convenient than inspired. But let’s give the author the benefit of the doubt that, by broadening topics, she’s laying the groundwork for another collection of essays on women who wouldn’t stay in their place or hold their tongues; she’s certainly earned it.
PositiveThe AV ClubI’m Just A Person touches on a lot of the same tragic material that Notaro first shared in Live, the documentary Tig, and her HBO special Boyish Girl Interrupted, in which she first made the distinction that she’s just a person and not a hero for having survived cancer. And yet, this written record of her grief isn’t just a retread. It’s supplemental, yes, but also transcendental—here, Notaro isn’t as concerned with pacing or giving the audience a break from her misery. As a stand-up comic, Notaro is guileless, and here she’s even less concerned with the performance elements of the story. That’s not to say the book isn’t funny—there’s still plenty of levity, but it frequently gives way to important revelations, like Notaro’s realization that, contrary to popular belief, she had been given more than she could handle. Her grief and recovery are in their rawest forms in I’m Just A Person, but so is her hope.