- a Hudson Booksellers Best Book of 2017
- a Fodor's 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Pick
- a Spring 2017 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection
- one of BookBub's Funniest Books of 2017
- a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Memoir/Biography of Spring 2017
- one of Tablet's Seven Jewish Literary Books To Read This Year
- one of The Forward's 26 Books We're Sure To Be Reading This Year
"A young woman's heartfelt, hilarious recounting of her (often one-sided) passion for all things German." —People
"Every once in awhile, a coming-of-age memoir arrives that truly breaks the mold — and this one certainly fits that bill."
—Refinery29 (Best New Reads of February)
"The good news is the book is enjoyable, amusing, and quickly consumed. The bad news is the book is enjoyable, amusing, and quickly consumed. Just like a big slice of Apfelkuchen, I wanted more."
"Her stories of traveling in Europe, taking language classes, and falling in love may be cringe-worthy at times, but they’re also fun."
—Bustle (The 16 Best Nonfiction Books of February 2017)
"A FEAST OF HONESTY, HUMILITY AND HUMOR, ALL THE HALLMARKS OF GREAT CONFESSIONAL LITERATURE."
"SCHUMAN ABSOLUTELY REVELS IN THE PAIN CAUSED BY HER LOVE FOR THE GERMAN LANGUAGE."
"LIBERALLY SPRINKLED WITH FREE-FLOWING EXPLETIVES."
—Kirkus (also, "hilarious" —Kirkus)
"This book is a wild and wonderful ride. Your guide, Rebecca Schuman, is a super-smart and very funny person who writes brilliantly about Germany and Germans (who are not what you think) and being young and insane and life in general and...just read it, OK?" —Dave Barry, national treasure
"An anthropological love story that's spit-out-your-schnitzel funny. She had me at Wohngemeinschaften." —Pamela Druckerman, author of the New York Times bestselling Bringing Up Bébé
"I don't know the German for 'madcap romp' (and I wouldn't be able to pronounce it anyway), but SCHADENFREUDE is a rip from the start, cursing its way from conceited high school boys to fluorescent dance clothes that just don't work in the US. Behold, the follies of all us childlike adults!" —Rosecrans Baldwin, author of Paris I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down
"This book is too damn good. It's ruining my evening, because as soon as I got my kids to sleep, I was going to do loads of useful stuff." —Simon Kuper, legitimate journalist
"A fun, wickedly intelligent book about failure, Kafka, and what it means to slowly perfect a language for one's own place in the world. Schuman throws herself headlong into the strange intersections between American grandiosity and German self-effacement with boundless energy, insight, and no shortage of wonderful, cringeworthy moments. What a rewarding, hilarious read."
—Mike Scalise, author of The Brand New Catastrophe
SCHADENFREUDE, A LOVE STORY is the debut memoir by journalist and essayist Rebecca Schuman.
Rebecca always wanted a long-term relationship with an interesting guy. She just never figured it would be with someone who'd been dead since 1923.
It began in high school, with the discovery a yellowing paperback of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and a brooding dark-eyed boy who loved The Trial, smelled like Earl Grey tea and broke her heart. The boy was gone, but Kafka was there for good, and this led Rebecca to a strange life of chasing phantoms down twisting cobbled alleys—or, at any rate, of increasingly convoluted attempts to ingratiate herself into the cultures of German-speaking Europe (cultures, of course, with a natural distrust of ingratiation).
In college, her ill-thought-out decision to major in German without knowing any German resulted in a failed experiment in Holocaust reparations with a baffled host family, and then some misplaced nostalgia for the Berlin Wall that neither a kitchen-shower nor a racist granny could deter. Her underwhelming entrance to the professional world involved unanswered faxes to Leni Riefenstahl, and a prophetic conversation with a teenage movie star in Prague, who somehow convinced her to go for a PhD. But in grad school, her primary takeaways were sun damage and a weird aversion to eating meals with other people.
SCHADENFREUDE, A LOVE STORY is an improbable journey to functional adulthood, with only Franz Kafka as the consistent arbiter of excellent decisions. Available NOW from FLATIRON BOOKS, at fine book retailers everywhere, and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, Powell's, & iTunes.
For more information, a review copy, a media inquiry, or to book a reading, email Steven Boriack here.