Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt
By Libby Marshall
A fantastically funny, wonderfully weird, and surprisingly sincere collection of short stories, humor pieces, and miscellaneous bits.
Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt is a fantastically funny, wonderfully weird, and surprisingly sincere collection of short stories, humor pieces, and miscellaneous bits. In this explosively original debut, Libby Marshall plumbs the depths of suburban despair, female desire, and the ever-present feeling that death could claim us at any moment.
Debra, an unhappy billionaire’s wife, decides to resurrect the 18th-century trend of hiring a man to live on their property as an ornamental garden hermit. An elderly serial killer, bored by her dull nursing home existence, finds a deadly new purpose when her high school nemesis ends up living down the hall. In 1953 a young couple drives to Makeout Point where instead of an evening of heavy petting, they find mountain lions, a man with no gaps in his teeth, and the opportunity to kill Henry Kissinger. Within these pages, a man tries to date after losing his wife to The Salem Witch Trials, a Wi-Fi router gains sentience, a series of cardboard boxes oozing with smoky-sweet baked beans mysteriously appear at a woman’s front door, and a Chuck E. Cheese is haunted by the spirit of Princess Diana.
Boldly strange, deliciously satirical, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt swings from the grim and ghastly to the exquisite and lovely. This one-of-a-kind book takes the reader on a surreal journey through the compulsory despair of daily life and concludes that the only sensible reaction to that much pain is laughter.
About the Author
Libby Marshall on Points in Case – Libby Marshall is a writer, performer, and tall person who lives in Chicago, IL. Her short story collection Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt was one of Vulture’s “Ten Best Comedy Books of 2021.” Her writing has appeared on Reductress, McSweeney’s, Slackjaw, Points in Case, The Belladonna, The Offing, Little Old Lady, and Weekly Humorist. She loves candles that smell like desserts, funny podcasts, and scarves that are big enough to double as blankets.
Reviews from Readers
“Goodness… where to start with my review of Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt. This is probably the most diverse book of short stories I’ve come across, and with such a range of eclectic stories, among the 43 in this volume, there’s bound to be something in there for everyone. There are some longer pieces while others are very short, only a page or two. I loved Libby Marshalls writing style, it’s lean, punchy and very good, and her sense of humour, which is quick and darkly mischievous. Her ideas are highly original and Marshall writes what many of us may think but hesitate to express.”
“First, let me first say, I think I would love to spend a day with this author. She has a very vivid imagination, a clear love for Cold Stone Creamery, and a disturbing way of looking at many regular occurrences in all of our lives. And I don’t say that in a bad way. This book is a collection of short stories and some even shorter views of things we all experience, but certainly don’t think about in strange ways. At least not until they’re pointed out by Libby Marshall. Then it’s so obvious that she observes events and normality in a different way than most of us. Some of the stories are poignant and some are really funny in a twisted way. I won’t say which I felt was which lest I be judged for my giggles.
“This is probably the first collection of short stories I’ve ever read, and I had such a good experience that I will definitely be doing it again in the future. Libby Marshall has a seriously twisted sense of humour, and I loved it. The stories themselves were very short, with the longest being maybe twenty pages, and the majority being about five.”
“Wildly offbeat, totally original, completely quirky – and I loved it!! This is a collections of short stories, of varying lengths, by an author with a fantastic sense of humour – one which kept me reading until the very last – and a novel way of looking at life. I can honestly say I have never come across stories quite like these before and, as a debut, it adds up to a stunning read.”
“Okay, so this was just was absolutely delightful. I loved the range of stories, and while I didn’t enjoy all of them, there were some that definitely hit my warped, slightly dark and always sarcastic sense of humor right on the head. I giggled my way through many of the shorts, but I especially loved Lady’s Guide to Death, Millennial Gravestones and Broatmeal.”
“I could imagine someone being put off by the title of this book. But the reality is, good satire is humorous while exposing what is wrong with the actions, people, or ideas being satirized. Although the short stories in this collection have some dark moments due to some of the characters being satirized, ultimately the over-the-top ridiculous actions offset any darkness with humor. This is definitely not your typical humorous short story collection, but it was absolutely a fun read, sometimes getting me pondering certain types of people and always entertaining.”
More Book Details
- Publisher: Atomic Vortex Press (January 5, 2021)
- Paperback: 254 pages
- Dimensions: 6 x 0.57 x 9 inches