Book review: Ant Farm by Simon Rich

Simon Rich got a lot of buzz in some circles with a piece in the New Yorker detailing what kids think grownup dinner-table conversation is all about. That story is included in Ant Farm, along with a couple dozen others covering similar ground. The title story, for example, is a conversation between the ants trapped in an ant farm. Other vignettes focus on childhood trauma and triumph: how trigonometry might possibly be useful (answer: only when confronted with madmen), and what it must be like to be one of the enemies inside a shoot-em-up video game (answer: it sucks). One of the best stories mines the emotional vein of parents trying to make up for embarrassing mistakes– but in this case, it’s Abraham trying to convince Isaac that he shouldn’t tell his mother about that whole sacrifice thing.

Ant Farm is the sort of book that shy people shouldn’t read on the subway, because they’ll laugh and attract attention to themselves. They should read it at home. Non-shy people can read it anywhere.

3 thoughts on “Book review: Ant Farm by Simon Rich”

  1. I was just reading Rich’s piece in the New Yorker last night (I tend to get behind on my periodicals) at the coffee shop. Yes, I did attract attention, but the greater risk is potential injury while drinking a hot beverage. I’m excited to here there’s an more in Ant Farm.


  2. I never laugh out loud reading a book. I was reading “Ant Farm” on a plane a few weeks ago and had to put it away because I was sure people were thinking that I was insane. I kept laughing uncontrollably and would have to put the book down to regain my composure, only to lose it again after reading a few more lines. Pure genius.


  3. Hmm… Well…

    I’m in an odd position! Hehe. Well I found this a VERY enjoyable book. I read it in about 2 or 3 hours though. Funny stories, disturbing stories, and stories the little brother should not read. Hehe. Well writing a Play Report on this should be easy………..

    It’s a good book overall, it could be condensed into a short stories book. Loved it!

    All I gotta do now is find a plot…


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