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Everything Was Fine Until Whatever

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  375 Ratings  ·  48 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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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
Sep 09, 2015 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I think if Chelsea Martin was standing in front of me I would just fall over and die. She is so funny! So inventive and weird and god damn funny. From the start, I was hanging on her every word. I don't know where half of this book came from, she is just a totally different species. A rare, unique and beautiful species.
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.
Kevin Fanning
Apr 05, 2009 Kevin Fanning rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 17, 2010 Shawn rated it it was ok
Shelves: small-press
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.
Jun 22, 2009 Leota rated it liked it
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
Nov 17, 2009 Mary Van Note rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 07, 2009 Jason Jordan rated it liked it
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
Feb 17, 2012 Eric T. Voigt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spring-twelve
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.
May 21, 2009 Roxane rated it really liked it
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
Aug 06, 2013 Erin Tuzuner rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 29, 2009 Brandon rated it it was amazing
'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
Jul 21, 2011 Brandi rated it really liked it
I like this book because Chelsea Martin is hot.
Apr 05, 2009 Erika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-bookshelf
if i knew my baby would be Chelsea Martin, i would have kept it.
Sep 21, 2016 Sarah-E. rated it it was amazing
i loved this so much
Peter Frasca
Dec 15, 2016 Peter Frasca rated it it was amazing
I LOL'd on the 6 train. Highly recommended.
Jan 19, 2016 SK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. And what I love (almost as much) is when things just come together serendipitiously and a book literally leaps off the shelf in a bookstore I hadn't meant to go into, and lands in my hands for reasons I'm not even aware of yet. Turns out Chelsea writes the oh so clever comic 'Heavy Handed' over at the Rumpus - LOVE. When I flipped open the book, I opened it to the Narnia page and knew I had to have it right away. Narnia IS for babies. Thank you, Chelsea. My favorite piece thou ...more
Dec 29, 2013 Lilly rated it it was amazing
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
Susie Anderson
May 05, 2015 Susie Anderson rated it it was amazing
when you go to crispin's house it's really overwhelming because he has a really sweet collection of books by excellent writers and it's hard to even know where to start. he loaned me this one as a starting point and i read most of it while looking for a place to live in london. it's hard for me in hindsight to remember exact parts of this book but i remember it was good at articulating profound moments of detachment :)
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.
Nicole Jacob
May 02, 2014 Nicole Jacob rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, favorites
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.
Lexi & Marron
Dec 20, 2015 Lexi & Marron rated it liked it
I started off really enjoying it--imagine all of the weird, quirky, gross, random thoughts that you've had, that you're pretty sure people would ostracize you for, and this is them in a book. It was funny, and weird, and I really like that. However, after awhile it started seeming like the weirdness was forced at times, and the appreciation wore off. After about 45 pages or so I mostly finished it for the sake of finishing it, but I really loved those first 45 pages.
Spencer Lewin
Nov 15, 2011 Spencer Lewin rated it really liked it
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
Katherine Kendig
Nov 20, 2015 Katherine Kendig rated it really liked it
This book is utter madness, but if you let go of expectations (like "this should make sense") it is oddly appealing madness and sometimes it will make sense accidentally and every so often it will make sense on purpose. It's smart and funny but it's also a chair that only ever has two legs on the floor.
Mar 28, 2015 Downward rated it liked it
flash fiction that veers aesthetically between witty new yorker type pieces and confessional blogging, it's quick and emotionally connective without ever getting too heavy and is occasionally super funny. it's mostly slice of life stuff that doesnt really stick to the bone, so even when you're really enjoying it, it's hard to recall any of the details later.
Jul 22, 2013 Greg rated it liked it
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.
Alex Broadwell
Dec 27, 2015 Alex Broadwell rated it it was amazing
feel like it shifts between light and silly vs. sad and kind of profound. it's usually funny. Chelsea Martin makes concise and interesting observations, thoughts, and jokes about big life events as well as smaller scale things. would read again.
Fernando Fernández
May 25, 2015 Fernando Fernández rated it really liked it
A good book. A very good first book, powerful, smart, a promise of growth. I believe in the future of this writer. Beware of alt-lit intended sloppiness, balance with a patient, thorough stance, introduce more class-warfare and critical theory insights, and we'll have a really valuable voice.
Jan 21, 2014 Adam rated it really liked it
Cant remember how I came across this now, but I've been reading it on and off for ages. I probably read most of it twice because I forgot where I was at some point but its ok its that kind of book.

I liked it anyway.

Whatever Whatever Forever.
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.
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“I know I am sarcastic and accommodating, but I am also small and quiet and won’t like you very much or very often.” 5 likes
“I’m confused about my sexuality, not my sexual orientation.” 2 likes
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