By Simon Rich
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812980394, 240pp.)
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
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Painfully shy and physically inept, Seymour Herson is the lowest student on the social totem pole at Glendale, a private school in Manhattan. But Seymour’s solitary existence comes to a swift end when he meets the new transfer student, Elliot Allagash, evil heir to America’s largest fortune. Bitter and bored with Glendale’s pedestrian surroundings, Elliot decides to take up a challenging and expensive hobby: transforming Seymour into the most popular boy in the school. With Elliot as his diabolical strategist, investor, and unlikely best friend, Seymour scores a spot on the basketball team, becomes class president, and ruthlessly destroys his enemies. Yet despite the glow of newfound popularity, Seymour feels increasingly uneasy with Elliot’s wily designs. For an Allagash victory is dishonorable at its best, and positively ruinous at its worst.
Simon Rich has written for The New Yorker, GQ, Mad, The Harvard Lampoon and other magazines. He is the author of two humor collections, Free-Range Chickens and Ant Farm, which was a finalist for the 2008 Thurber Prize for American Humor. He lives in Brooklyn and writes for Saturday Night Live. He is twenty-five.
“An enjoyable little dose of poisonous cynicism.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Cheerfully caustic . . . clever and fun . . . If [Simon Rich] were his own creation, he would need to be destroyed.”—The New York Times
“Simon Rich’s absurdist approach to the underdog archetype makes for a hilarious and heartwarming romp.”—USA Today
“The most enjoyable classroom comedy since Tom Perotta’s Election.”—Financial Times
“Wickedly original and funny.”—Chicago Tribune