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Relatively Painless, by Dylan Brody

”My only complaint is that I wanted more, which is a good complaint to have. It made me laugh and cry and then laugh again and then pee and then cry. Lots of fluids lost. But in a good way. A book to make you appreciate the tragically funny and beautiful horror of family.”

— Jenny Lawson, Author Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Furiously Happy

Daniel Grunman remembers his grandmother telling him, “We’re Jews. We don’t believe in tragedy. We believe in horror, atrocity and injustice. And we recognize all of them as inherently hilarious.”

The Grunmans consider themselves a supremely functional family, in that they manage a wry self-awareness about the drinking, the pot smoking, the long-seething resentments, the brooding jealousies and the perpetual, judgmental subtext. In twenty hilariously poignant flashbulb vignettes a family comes to light, revealed in lean exchanges of unconscious cruelty and recognizable evasion.

With deft, delicate brush strokes, award-winning playwright and humorist Dylan Brody delivers a family so specific that we fear we trespass on their intimacy. We observe behavior in such startling detail because our tour guide effortlessly guides us to those small bits that matter most: the fingertip manipulations of a cocktail napkin, the generational echo of an inflective grunt. We watch them behave, we hear them speak, we learn their tells.

Deaths, losses, betrayals and slights resonate along umbilical bonds of familial connection.

Secrets will be revealed. Son, father, mother and daughter will lash out at one another and reach out toward one another. Words will be spoken and silences will descend. Jokes will be written. It will never be too soon.

 

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