Additional Book Information
Publication Date: October 17, 2016
The Babysitter at Rest
by Jen George
Included in The Believer's "Favorite Books from 2016," Electric Literature's "Best Short Story Collections of 2016," and The A.V. Club's "20 Favorite Books of 2016."
I'm so happy this collection exists. I feel drunk with love for these stories. They're so funny and weird and true.
This brilliantly caustic début collection of stories is an attack on the pieties of contemporary social life and the niceties of traditional fiction.
—The New Yorker
The Babysitter at Rest is an undeniably great debut collection of stories. George's writing is funny, courageous, smart, surreal, seductive, and terrifyingly vulnerable.
We all know it's commitment to something absurd that makes things funny―but in The Babysitter at Rest Jen George commits to scenarios that are not just absurd but weird in a deeply true, "unspeakable-underpinning-of-reality" sort of way. And thus her commitment is both funny and kind of spiritual at the same time―and by laughing, you're admitting this female inner universe exists. And that kind of changes everything.
George goes there again and again, combining the profane and the pathetic with a rarely seen energy. When's the last time you read an opening line this charged? "On a bed in the emergency room, being pumped full of morphine and oxycodone, vomiting, then being pumped full of the same medications, I recall the ways I've always been." (That little information about George is available―she was born in California and lives in New York―only heightens the appeal; her work stands alone.)
—The A.V. Club (Grade: A)
Reading The Babysitter at Rest is an immersion into a hidden world. It's a place which is at first recognizable, before it becomes completely warped. Jen George has a way of bending the narrative which is distinctly her own. Her stories are at once poignant and disciplined in their abstraction, and hilarious in their inappropriate and reckless abandon.
George writes with an ear for raw thought patterns; her renderings of characters reproduced by their preferences and reduced to sad adulthoods are exquisite.
—The Village Voice
A brilliant and surprising debut collection of short fiction.
The Babysitter at Rest is a collection of five short . . . stories? Or incantations. Or guides. I'm not sure how to classify them. But what I do know is that they are funny―funny because they're true! And also funny because it's so sad it's true! And also just funny-funny. They are strange as heck. But underneath all the weird and the funny and the kinda gross stuff, these stories perfectly capture what it's like being a person in the world who is just trying to figure shit out. Sometimes while reading I had to stop and ask myself, "How does a person write this?"
Garish, bizarre, and pointedly funny.
[D]arkly humorous . . . Jen George skewers the damaging cultural imagery of acceptable female adultness.
A headlong charge through the process of becoming―an artist, an adult, a nobody, something, anything.
[O]ne of the most tender and grittiest collections I have read.
Reading Jen George's The Babysitter at Rest is like having a heart-to-heart with the most bizarre babysitter you can imagine―a sly representative of a world that seems at first to be like yours but, upon inspection, reveals itself to be tinged with more weirdness, more darkness, and considerably more sex.
—The Arkansas International
It's an understatement to proclaim that these pieces are unlike anything else in contemporary literature. They're so far outside the spectrum it's as if they're waving from another world.
—Shelf Awareness, starred review
The hilarious and heartbreaking stories are long, some the length of novellas, and full of sardonic observations on the futility of what is generally considered maturity or success or love. George captures the loneliness that comes from participating in a society that feels rigged against sadness, intimacy, and genuine expression.
—Los Angeles Review of Books