Miserable Love Stories by Alex Bernstein



There was something about Barb– the way she chewed her pens and threw them out before the ink exploded. And then I’d retrieve the pens and chew where she chewed, even if they did explode. And then I’d have blue teeth for weeks. And people would go, Eugh. He’s been chewing Barb’s pens again. Loser!

-from the story “Barb.”


THERE’S a story– “Confession”– in Alex Bernstein’s humorous new book in which a character confesses to her mother that she’s attracted to members of the opposite sex. (!)

We have our own confession to make: Alex Bernstein is a pop writer.

Like an Erich Segal (whose classic 1970 best-selling novel Love Story we also examine as part of our 2020 St. Valentine’s Day celebration), Alex Bernstein has a natural clarity of style. This enables him to add subtle emotion to his stories– emotion with greater impact because of the writing style.

Bernstein has several pieces– “Manic Pixie Dream Girl Police” one of them– which read like screenplays. As with Erich Segal, this appears to be an excellent foundation for writing in a pop fashion– a starting point from which all things become possible. 


If you read for entertainment, enjoyment, humanity, you need to read Miserable Love Stories.

Available here from Skyhorse Publishing.


Miserable Adventure Stories by Alex Bernstein

A Review by New Pop Lit


“Fleeing from an Earth overrun by personal fitness trainers, Mark Savage and his pal, Dani, wander the stars in their two-person rocket, Charlemagne! Their destination: Somewhere Other Than Earth!

POP FICTION– that long overlooked entity, has been making a comeback. Overlooked for decades with the dominance of writing programs scorning pop stories while presuming only the “literary” is acceptable– never consulting the end result of their training: the reader. Pop is making a comeback with the rise of DIY and micropress publishing. Under new rules with fewer gatekeepers, or new ones, the first necessity for writing is to compete.

WHAT’S a pop story?

In the tradition of O. Henry, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Zane Grey, a pop story can be humorous, heartwarming, romantic, involving, exciting, or simply entertaining. Or all of these things.

MISERABLE ADVENTURE STORIES is a variegated collection of pop fiction by one of the best practitioners of the pop story, Alex Bernstein. Three of the stories aren’t miserable, they’re masterful. (One has appeared at our site.) Masterful examples of the pop genre. We won’t tell you which ones they are. You’ll have to discover that yourself.

The other pieces are a mixed lot, ranging from groan-style bad jokes, to hyper-imaginative bizarro sci-fi scenarios, to laugh-out-loud good jokes, such as “Hamlet (Epilogue).” The commonality: They’re all entertaining.

Interested in reading as reading? Buy this publication!


Miserable Adventure Stories is available here.


(A photo of Alex Bernstein.)