The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories
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The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  525 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Steve Almond, the man whose candy jones fueled the bestseller Candyfreak, returns with a collection of stories that both seals his reputation as a master of the modern form and risks getting him arrested. The cast of characters in The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories includes a wealthy family certain they have been abducted by space aliens, a sexy magazine editor who falls...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published April 22nd 2005 by Algonquin Books (first published 2005)
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Andrew
Should Steve Almond bother you? Should you find it condescending that he’s got a reading comprehension test on his website? Should you get the icks from Almond’s writing about teaching the sexy, sexed-up female students in a writing workshop very much resembling his own at Boston College? Should you down some ipecac because his most assured writing in The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories is in a story called “The Idea of Michael Jackson’s Dick”?

Ugh, yes. Steve, you have freaked us out.

But what’s...more
Sharon
I had the great pleasure of hearing Steve Almond read a slightly abridged version of his story "Appropriate Sex" from this collection and promptly decided I must jump into his stories headfirst. Overall, I was not disappointed.

The short stories in this book are heartbreaking, some in beauty and others in despair. Almond's humor and ability to push the reader right to the edge keep these stories from becoming maudlin, particularly when we are forced to look inside ourselves through the lens of hi...more
Sian Griffiths
Pretty good stuff. Almond's writing is clear and engaging, making the book a quick read--which is not to say it is without depth. The stories are driven by people dealing with diverse traumas, whether those be unusual sexual requests or a friend asking another to read his novel manuscript. Almond is a master at quick characterization and wonderful dialogue that pulls off the rare trick of being both true to the character and surprising and insightful.

To be totally honest, though, I'm not sure ho...more
Sarah Etter
even though the story "lincoln, arisen" left me a little cold, the rest of this collection was so damned good i couldn't take a star away. expertly narrated and structured - almond is a master of convincingly writing from the perspective of women, men, everyone. each story was tightly wound and left me feeling like i'd been punched in the face by a life lesson. adored this.
Steve Petkus
I'm nuts for short fiction, and Steve Almond is pretty great at the form. In this collection, his themes and characters are fairly varied. (Almond's more recent book of short stories, God Bless America, is even more varied; I'll review that gem as soon as I can get my hands on a copy and reread it.) The Lincoln/Douglass story is the greatest thematic departure, to the point where I don't think it fits in this book; in fact, I've reread that story several times, and I just don't get it. Inventive...more
Cherie
Almond is a local 'celebrity' in my new town. He teaches at a well-respected university. How all this happened I don't know.

These short stories could have been written by any of his students. They are filled with stereotypes. I started to wonder about the author's life and his lifestyle. Does he HATE women?

In the book, you find a spinster at a woman's magazine with a flaming-gay assistant who says snarky, clever things. Sounds like Will & Grace! He's even called "Chief Gay Underling" by the...more
Sandra
This is a humorous collection that deals with a wide set of issues like love, death, and politics, with some historical fiction thrown in. Almond’s use of slang and colloquialism in the narrative give the stories a sense of accessibility, but left this reader feeling there is something missing from the narrative, some important emotional element. Not all of the stories feel this way; some are powerful and linger in the mind after reading them. The story, “I am as I am,” is one of these, a coming...more
The Awdude
It's always nice to find a writer who knows how to be funny. Being funny isn't easy. Especially when you're a writer, since writers tend to take themselves super seriously. But Almond does take his characters seriously, which is what really makes these stories good, because most of his characters could easily be diagnosed with a variety of psychiatric conditions. But their author isn't worried about classifying them. He doesn't want you to know them in terms of how they don't fit in or the ways...more
Ciara
Dec 11, 2008 Ciara rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: short story enthusiasts?, i can't really say
Shelves: read-in-2007
another blank. i think this is a collection of short stories. i don't remember much beyond that. i will say that i have read some other steve almond stuff, & he's very competent & often very funny. i believe he teaches writing at boston college. so this book is most likely a collection of short stories that are written competently & designed to be mildly funny, & i seem to also recall that they are a little off-kilter in a poor-man's-jonathan-sfaran-foer-school-of-weird-character...more
Taylor
I had never heard of Steve Almond until a couple of weeks ago, and now I will read everything he has published--he just put out a new book about music. This is a collection of short stories, though, and it is really great. His command of voice is shockingly assured. All of the narrators/characters in these stories are wildly different and yet they all feel equally authentic. Some stories were definitely stronger than others--the title story, "I Am as I Am," and "The Problem of Human Consumption"...more
Dana Eckstein
Steve Almond is not only hilarious, but also writes with great insight into human failings and those things that make human connections run awry.
Kaijsa
The stories here are really varied. I think I was expecting a theme to emerge, but there really wasn't one except maybe that all the stories dealt with relationships of some sort. One particularly strange one is "Lincoln, Arison," which is about a relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. A page or two into it, I was really tempted to skip it, but I was drawn in by the characterizations of both men. A couple of pieces really didn't work for me, like "The Soul Molecule" and "Sku...more
Kevin Shoop
A few very good stories and a few duds. I always feel that if I were smarter I would enjoy esoteric, modern short fiction more. I DO tend to enjoy it, but always feel as if I'm missing something.
Zach
This is an outstanding collection of stories. It starts out in the humorous, biting tone that Almond is best known for, but then it hits you, all of a sudden, with a couple really touching pieces, thoughtful and, dare I say, heartfelt. The story, "Lincoln, Arisen," is one of the best I've ever read. It's still stuck in my head days after reading it. It's such an original concept executed flawlessly, and it's probably the best example of Almond's versatility as a writer. The last third of the boo...more
Kim
Great and imaginative collection of short stories by a fantastic writer. Cynical at times, and whimsical as well. Hysterically funny and sort of weepy too. I have to read it again to recall my first impression but I do remember it was a very good one.

PS: I met Steve Almond, who is a friend of the English professor and head editor of my college literary club. He came to read some of this (freshly published) book to us and to meet us all, and just an FYI: the guys pretty hot. I mean, really, very...more
Jack Cheng
Some great stories here, although I have to admit they are not as funny or caustic as I was expecting (having heard Almond speak and having read some of his non-fiction). In fact, there is a lot of compassion in these stories of oddballs and weird relationships.

Recurring themes: literature and its discontents, sex and how it dis/functions, the sexual attractiveness of Chinese men. Maybe that last is why I liked it.

Seriously, lots of weird memorable characters and situations that are well drawn...more
Daniel
Ah...another Steve Almond collection.

I really do enjoy this man's writing, though I don't think this collection was a strong as his earlier, My Life In Heavy Metal, collection. Still, it was nice to read some short stories that were intelligently written, and not ponderous.

It's hard to pick a favorite, though the title story is quite good. "Summer, As In Love" was good, but I wanted more resolution.

"Lincoln, Arisen," did not work for me. Frankly, I didn't understand what Almond was going for her...more
Rachel  Cassandra
Nov 24, 2007 Rachel Cassandra rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardcore steve almond fans
Shelves: shortstories
not as good as "my life in heavy metal", his last collection of short stories. i'm gonna go ahead and say these are mediocre with a few pretty good stories and should probably be avoided, unless you're a hardcore steve almond fan. a fair dose of sex as is characteristic, and too many stories that take place surrounding university life. i really wonder how much of steve almond's skyrocketing popularity is tied to the fact that he writes a lot about sex for an audience of undersexed porn-denied li...more
Eric
I don't know why the good stories in this collection are relegated to the last third of the book. The only explanation I can think of is that they're presented in the order in which they were published. That fails to explain why the banal, Dahlesque "B.B. Chow" was chosen as the title story.

I'd start with "The Problem of Human Consumption" and read through "Larsen's Novel" then maybe circle back to "I am as I am" which was a fine story with an awkward cadence.
Sheri
Very good, even though I'm not a huge lover of short stories, I really enjoyed this. Some of these stories will definitely stay with me forever.
Natalie
I liked this book fine, though it's going to suffer endlessly from comparisons to Almond's superior "My Life in Heavy Metal." Some stories hit the mark better than others; for my part, I particularly liked "Summer, As In Love" (though I feel it could have used a stronger resolution) and "Larsen's Novel."

Still, fun, quick, entertaining read, and Almond is at his best when writing about sex and relationships. It makes my X chromosome twitch.
Stacey
I'm sad to say, that, halfway through, I am as yet unimpressed. This is a sad thing, because I'm now listening to Candyfreak, and remembering just how funny Almond is. His pieces on Nerve are good and funny, too, but this collection of short stories just didn't do it for me.
Brandy
There are some stories in this collection that will stick with me forever, and others I'd forgotten almost as soon as I'd turned the page. But that's any anthology, really. Almond's writing blends quirky characters and situations with a certain sensitivity to how people think and react--it all sounds very real, and even the funniest bits are tempered with a bit of sadness when you recognize just how true the reactions are.
Riley
Be careful or you might find yourself on thriftbooks ordering everything else Steve Almond has written.
These stories absolutely emmanate the tender heartache of everyday life. His cultural notations are as eloquent as they are deep.
The characters are you, or someone you know.
Zach VandeZande
Steve Almond writes stories that are funny and powerful and generally involve putting a character in an extremely embarassing/sad/awkward situation, sometimes all at once. He often ends these stories in a pseudo-epiphanic way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
Karen Carlson
Some terrific stories, but I couldn't handle the brutality. Detailed coments on all stories (with possible spoilers) at A Just Recompense
Anney Ryan
I don't understand why people like Steve Almond. He creates tension that feels fake and it rises up to crappy literary inventions that make no sense. Oh yeah, but there's a story called "Michael Jackson's Penis" so that's sure to get people reading it, right?
Debbie
Book of short stories. They really aren't usually my thing, but since I never have time to read anyway, I may have to gain an appreciation for them. Anyway, Steve Almond is pretty cool shit. But, I just didn't get the Lincoln story at all. Seriously, wtf?
Renée
Jul 07, 2007 Renée rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who enjoy literary short fiction.
Almond’s second book shows range, from Abe Lincoln to the undergrad writing workshop to the creepy boyfriend who goes by his initials. Personal favorite: “Larsen’s Novel.” Anyone who is a writer or who wants to write should read this story.
Donovan
Enjoyed some more then others - overall I'd say it was an average collection. Not bad for a hardcover bought on the bargain table at Powell's, but it wouldn't be at the top of my list if I was recommending a collection of short stories.
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Steve Almond is the author of two story collections, My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, the non-fiction book Candyfreak, and the novel Which Brings Me to You, co-written with Julianna Baggott. He lives outside Boston with his wife and baby daughter Josephine.
More about Steve Almond...
Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America My Life in Heavy Metal: Stories Which Brings Me to You: A Novel in Confessions (Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life: A Book by and for the Fanatics Among Us

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