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Everything Was Fine Until Whatever
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Everything Was Fine Until Whatever

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Anything is possible in Chelsea Martin's bizarre and endearingly honest collection of stories, lists, flash fictions, and revealing factoids. Everything Was Fine Until Whatever is a poker-faced and unpredictably comic tour de force. Festooned with artwork and hand-written notes, this is a grand debut by a magical new talent.
111 pages
Published March 2009 by Future Tense Books
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13th out of 193 books — 147 voters
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Community Reviews

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Officially out now on Future Tense! When Chelsea sent me her work about two years ago, I knew I had to do some kind of book with her. She's wildly talented. EWFUW is a dream book--a great clusterf*ck of art, story, humor, small print subliminal messages, and direct announcements to every reader that picks it up. This may just be the finest and strangest production in the history of Future Tense Books. Wow.
Aug 24, 2011 Brian added it
Shelves: started-stopped
months before i read this book, i was listening to the radio and i heard an acoustic cover of Sublime's "Santeria." suddenly everything seemed wrong in a fucked up way. like nothing mattered or made sense and i felt like i'd eaten a large pink flannel blanket.

now that i'm actually reading the book, i realize that chelsea martin looks like a girl who eats pop rocks and count chocula all the time and probably talks either too fast or too loud and when you are around her you just want her to take i
Kevin Fanning
Really fucking good. Read it, finished it, started reading it again. Is that really the author's cell phone number in that one poem? I'm tempted to call her and tell her person to person that I enjoyed her book. I probably won't though.

What else. I was going to list the ones I liked the best, but there are more here that I liked than didn't like. I even like the alternate titles for the book, including "Here's Some Awkward Tension and Transparent Compliments" and "I Practically Never Want to Ha
Just not my cup of tea.

When I read flash fiction, I can't help but think of Palm-of-the-Hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata (Palm-of-the-Hand Stories, which are so artfully an beautifully written, every story was more amazing than the last. Most of them were just short scenes placed in front of you. The "flash fiction" that seems to be popular these days pales in comparison. That doesn't mean that flash fiction doesn't have its place on the book shelf, but, I guess, I'm just spoiled.
I liked a lot of this little book of random autobiographical-ish/ flash fiction/ poetry/ drawings and stuff. Some of it is laugh-out-loud, some of it is really smart, some a little sad. I think Martin is at her best in her shorter stuff - poetry, lists, etc. My one complaint is that a few of the subjects Martin is preoccupied with are presented in a way that feels...kinda young. But maybe that just means I'm old.

Either way, I would recommend picking this book up.

Mary Van Note
It's been a long time since a book made me laugh out loud. I actually read this book after finishing one of George Carlin's books, and I must say Martin got more laughs per minute out of me than the late comedy great. It was the laughs, but also the quirkiness that inspired me, and isn't inspiration an awesome thing to get out of a book?

Martin is hands down my favorite new author. I'm looking forward to reading this book again and again.
Jason Jordan
Martin's work is amusing, zany, unpredictable, and a host of other adjectives that I'd also apply to Sam Pink's writing. Delivered in standard prose and prose-poetry, Everything Was Fine Until Whatever is always interesting given its range of subject matter and format. In fact, Martin's drawings are great. The stories/poems are often too nonsensical and random for my tastes, though.
Eric T. Voigt Voigt
Definitely a six. It was like "uh-huh? Uh-huh? Totally! I know!" and "hahahaha! No way. That's great!" through my head through every story and poem. Entirely good and right. Hilarious at a non-stopped-ness I guess I haven't felt outside of "Seinfeld" maybe? Felt myself turning into a bigger fanboy with each page turned.
More than anything, this book shows that the author has a lot of promise. Some of the stuff was just... well fine until whatever, but there were so many sharp, witty lines and a couple really cohesive pieces that despite some of the frustrations I had with the book, I am glad I read it.
Erin Tuzuner
I would have to create several shelves to accommodate the incredible depth of strange and non linear processes contained within. I'm too lazy to do that, but I'm hopeful you will be tempted to devour and quickly discard this beautiful glimpse of honest, varied, insanity.
'definitely worth reading' in terms of like 'boredom relief' and the ability of the book to make you feel less alone and more like you 'want to start writing again', i highly recommend this book
if i knew my baby would be Chelsea Martin, i would have kept it.
I like this book because Chelsea Martin is hot.
Thea Lemaster
Everything Was Fine Until Whatever is the most honest book I've read in a while. A combination of prose, poetry, and artwork - it's a beautiful, hilarious, zany, and raw compilation. Martin's work makes me want to write and dissolve into the earth. I wish I actually gave it time of day when I picked it up at Powell's last year, but I'm almost glad I didn't because it may not have struck the same chord it did with me today.
Lilly G
I hadn't read much flash fiction but if it was always this good, I would! Martin just has a way with words. Which is, of course, what one hopes for in an author.

Writing with such sarcasm and humor takes serious skill. Many people think they're funny; few people actually are. It's an unusual little mental roller coaster through this book, start to finish, but her style is just something else. Everything I write here feels trite. How's this: have already marked her others "to read" because I'm ob
Stephenie Darnielle
Lena Dunham meets Allie Brosh.
Nicole Jacob
I absolutely adore Chelsea Martin. Her writing style is unique and refreshing and thought provoking... I could go on forever.
Everything Was Fine Until Whatever is not my favorite book of hers. I loved the layout and the extra additional snippets of hers placed throughout the book. But, this book had a different feeling and I didn't find myself as enthralled with this book as I was her other, Even Though I Don't Miss You.
Spencer Lewin
very funny, would be 5 stars but i think she used "crap" or "shit" one too many times for that to still be funny

seems like one of them could have been edited out

maybe not, should i change my rating to 5 stars

think i'm going to change my rating to 5 strs b/c i laughed like 3 times in a similar manner to a mid to overweight 12 yr old reading "the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" for the first time
Self-indulgent and often sophomoric, Martin may make you want to dismiss this short, quickly (I don't like that word anymore than you do)collection of musings. However, she accomplishes, through vulnerability and egoism, what she intended: intimacy with the reader. I picked this out at random at Powell's, and have not regretted it.
Dec 31, 2009 oriana marked it as to-read
Recommended to oriana by: Kevin
From Kevin Sampsell via Huffington Post: Ok--so I actually published this one on my press, but it's such a weird little stew of stories, lists, meta-poems, and art that I can't keep my mind off of how brilliant and fresh it all is.
Jenny Kelly
Ugh. I think this ended up on my recommended list because of Miranda July. This was just irritating; an uninteresting collection of mini-stories that followed the same subjects. Poor writing.
To be fair, I didn't finish this one. It wasn't my cup of tea, but I enjoyed some of the writing here. For the lovers of experimental, flash fiction type of stuff, check this out.
Mark Cugini
Chelsea Martin wanted me to think about her in bed, and I did. Everything Was Fine Until Whatever at the same time both humorous and tragic, without being overly effusive.
Tomas Moniz
I like the zine versions better but i do love the playfulness and the underlying seriousness of her writing...

i hope she pushes herself write longer pieces...

Read this a couple of times now and good for some laughs. Martin probably has a future in stand-up or as a comedy writer
I hope this girl becomes a playwright one day--her dialogue is sooooo funny.
John Jodzio
Made me laugh out loud in a dirty laundromat. LOVE.
Funny and adorable little snippets of thought and action.
Luke Heyerman
This girl is smart. Funny. Funny.
Oct 16, 2009 Liz marked it as to-read
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