The cover blurb on Certifiable, a collection of short stories by David McGimpsey (Insomniac), describes it as “funny and twisted stories of American culture.” Topics range from the biological makeup of the McDonald’s character Grimace to fragmented lecture notes for a college seminar on Elvis. McGimpsey’s pairing of couch-potato vernacular with academia is an awkward marriage at times—the correspondence between Fonzie’s jacket and Christina Aguilera is neither funny nor twisted. The book, which claims to be “perfect for college dropouts,” seems to deliver philosophy in the guise of pop-savvy constructions—kind of like putting coloured marshmallows on top of the baked yams at Thanksgiving. The strength of Certifiable lies in the well-detailed, quiet desperation of its narratives and the relationships within, from one-night stands to the heartbreaking disconnect between three brothers. Such moments as the culmination of “Street Noodles,” in which the main character dives into his ex-girlfriend’s pool to retrieve a plate decorated with ceramic frogs, and later sits at his mother’s kitchen table gluing the frog pieces back together while deconstructing his failed relationship, are priceless. Knowledge of the Bible, the English literature canon and everything on TV from Happy Days to American Idol is helpful but not required for reading this book.