Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt by Libby Ashworth #BookReview #DebutNovel #AtomicVortexPress #4.5*

Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt is a fantastically funny, wonderfully weird, and surprisingly sincere collection of short stories, humor pieces, and miscellaneous bits.

In this explosively original debut, Libby Marshall plumbs the depths of suburban despair, female desire, and the ever-present feeling that death could claim us at any moment.

Debra, an unhappy billionaire’s wife, decides to resurrect the 18th-century trend of hiring a man to live on their property as an ornamental garden hermit. An elderly serial killer, bored by her dull nursing home existence, finds a deadly new purpose when her high school nemesis ends up living down the hall. In 1953 a young couple drives to Makeout Point where instead of an evening of heavy petting, they find mountain lions, a man with no gaps in his teeth, and the opportunity to kill Henry Kissinger. Within these pages, a man tries to date after losing his wife to The Salem Witch Trials, a Wi-Fi router gains sentience, a series of cardboard boxes oozing with smoky-sweet baked beans mysteriously appear at a woman’s front door, and a Chuck E. Cheese is haunted by the spirit of Princess Diana.

Boldly strange, deliciously satirical, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Penny Pinching Tips for the Morally Bankrupt swings from the grim and ghastly to the exquisite and lovely.

This one-of-a-kind book takes the reader on a surreal journey through the compulsory despair of daily life and concludes that the only sensible reaction to that much pain is laughter.

Stimulating & Enthralling!

Wildly offbeat, totally original, completely quirky – and I loved it!!

This is a collections of short stories, of varying lengths, by an author with a fantastic sense of humour – one which kept me reading until the very last – and a novel way of looking at life. I can honestly say I have never come across stories quite like these before and, as a debut, it adds up to a stunning read.

With subjects as diverse as they come, I have giggled and grimaced, laughed and almost cried all while relishing the author’s ability to keep changing focus without losing her readers. Without revealing too much, I can say that there is something for everyone between these pages. Libby Marshall is, without doubt, an up and coming writer and one to watch; I’d be very interested to know if she is working on a full length novel as she has the gift of telling tales in a way which hooks the reader and obviously possesses the imagination which all writers both need and crave. Well-planned and beautifully written and with an eye-catching title, I hope others enjoy this anthology as much as I have. Stimulating and enthralling, I’m happy to recommend this one and give it 4.5*

My thanks to the author for my copy; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: humour, anthology

Author Details


Libby Marshall is a writer, performer, and tall person who lives in Chicago, IL. She graduated from The University of Illinois with a degree in Creative Writing and Political Science. Her writing has appeared on Reductress, Slackjaw, Points In Case, The Belladonna, The Offing, Little Old Lady, and The Weekly Humorist. She has written and performed two solo shows, many sketch shows, and more improv shows than is healthy. She loves candles that smell like desserts, funny podcasts, and scarves that are big enough to double as blankets.

  • Twitter: @LibraryMarshall

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s