Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
• Distinctive humor from a well-known artist: Bruce Eric Kaplan is one of the most popular cartoonists at The New Yorker . Known for his observational sense of humor and distinctive design, Kaplan’s work plays on modern foibles, juxtaposing droll, slice-of-life dialogue with slightly surreal situations. .
• Just in time for Valentine’s Day: This latest collection from Kaplan employs his trademark incisive wit on the volatile passions and comic banalities that plague relationships of all kinds. As Kaplan notes in the Introduction, “everything we do, we do for one of three reasons: because we love someone, because we hate someone, or because we’re hungry.” No one can argue with that, or anything else in this wickedly funny new collection..
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 7.30(h) x 2.40(d)|
About the Author
Bruce Eric Kaplan, known for his distinctive, off-beat single-panel cartoons, has been a New Yorker cartoonist for more than fifteen years. He is also a television writer and was an executive producer for the acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under, as well as a writer on Seinfeld (funnily enough, one of his most well-known episodes is one where Elaine becomes increasingly frustrated over what she takes to be an utterly nonsensical New Yorker cartoon). He has authored and illustrated seven adult titles including the cult classic The Cat That Changed My Life; the collections I Love You, I Hate You, I’m Hungry; No One You Know; and This Is a Bad Time; and three titles featuring the wonderfully neurotic Brooklyn couple Edmund and Rosemary: Every Person on the Planet, Edmund and Rosemary Go to Hell, and Everything Is Going to Be Okay. Bruce is also the author and illustrator of four picture books: Monsters Eat Whiny Children, Cousin Irv from Mars, Meaniehead, and Someone Farted. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
Read an Excerpt
I worked at my son's preschool today. It's a co-op so I spend a day there at least once a month. I sort of dread doing it, yet when it happens it's not so bad. The snack comes midway through the morning and that is the highlight for me. Today, there were strange red rice crackers, hot dogs, and sad green grapes. I had been so excited and then I was so disappointed.
Not that much happens during a morning at preschool, yet at the same time, of course, everything happens. Today, someone noticed a stink beetle on the ground and everyone gathered around. A girl drew on someone else's painting. One boy threw a tiny rake that nearly took out a teacher's eye. Early in my first moments there, I witnessed one boy tell another boy that the reason he wasn't invited to a party was that no one likes him. The boy no one likes took it much better than I would have.
Later, after the dreadful snack, some kids were at an arts and crafts table beading pieces of colored wire. These turned out to be necklaces, albeit necklaces that hung funny. One girl was having the time of her life beading her wire. Then, seconds later, she was outside, weeping. She wept until the end of preschool. She was truly inconsolable. I never found out why.
Another boy at the arts and crafts table was insistent that he needed foamy beads. I tried to find some for him, but I couldn't. So I simply walked away, hoping he had forgotten about the foamy beads. He hadn't. Fifteen minutes later, I saw a teacher telling him that they didn't have any foamy beads in fact, they had never had foamy beads. He calmly insisted that he needed foamy beads. I found that admirable.
Anyway, now here I am, and it is night and it all seems so long ago. What should I say about the cartoons in this collection? In looking back at them I see that the vast majority are about relationships. God, "relationships" is such a terrible word. It makes relationships sound so dreary, not fun at all. "Fun" is a good word. "Relationships" terrible word.
And most of the relationships in this book are romantic or sexual or unromantic and unsexual but would be romantic and sexual if people were in a better mood. Or if they were not tired because of work. Or because of life.
But also there are cartoons about other kinds of relationships, such as those one has with parents, or friends, or neighbors, or enemies, or food, or whatever.
I think my first real relationship was with my wallpaper. I mean it. I remember reaching through my crib and touching it. It was yellow and reassuringly bumpy. Somehow it soothed me. Even writing about it now, four decades later, makes me feel better, as I have been feeling a little anxious all day which is actually how I spend every day.
Another early important relationship I had was with a little enclosed space under a shelf in our den. I used to crawl in there and sit with some little objects (I can't remember what they were exactly, so I guess I didn't have that vivid a relationship with them) and say I was working in the Underbakery. The Underbakery was next to the radiator in the room and it was cozy and I remember I would feel very safe and secure when I was in the Underbakery.
The den had an object in the center of it that I had an extremely intense relationship with the television. I still do. The television was a real lifeline for me. It nourished me. It showed me so much about what life was and could or should be. I laughed, I cried, I was confused, I felt understood when I watched television.
It's strange it suddenly strikes me that it hasn't occurred to me to mention my mother, or my father. They were there too during my childhood. I am just not sure what they were doing.
An early romantic relationship for me was with Diane Kolankowski, who I met in elementary school. She had such great hair, which I think is the most important thing about people, but maybe that is just because I am bald. Diane Kolankowski, Diane Kolankowski I remember her second-grade party as if it were yesterday. That party was something. I remember it so clearly. More than I remember her, which says a lot.
But back to the cartoons. Perhaps the most interesting relationship depicted in them is one's relationship with oneself. No matter where you go, you're always stuck with you, you can't get rid of you, and believe me, I've tried. To get rid of me, not you I mean. (You are fine, I guess.)
All of this talk puts me in mind of a theory I once heard that has always stayed with me. It's that everything we do, we do for one of three reasons: because we love someone, because we hate someone, or because we're hungry. Think about it. It's really true. (Oh, I probably don't need to tell you this, but when I say we're hungry, I don't just mean we want food, although most of the time we do just want food. I mean, we have a need or an emptiness or a sadness. Like that boy at preschool today, we just want the foamy beads. Even if they don't exist and never have.)
In any case, here are the cartoons. I hope they have some meaning for you, whoever you are. If by any chance they do, I know why you either love someone, you hate someone, or you're hungry. Trust me, it's one of those three things.
Bruce Eric Kaplan Los Angeles, California