My Shorts

Brief Scenes from My Early Life

Non-Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 07/20/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

In the beginning, God created the heavens . . . and Joan Rivers, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, and Jerry Seinfeld. And God said, let there be another meshugganah. And so it was that He created me, Brian Kagan. And now that I’ve has been to the mountaintop—the Catskills—I’m ready to share my stories.

My first book, My Shorts: Brief Scenes From My Early Childhood was published in February 2020—it reached Amazon #1 Bestseller status in my category, awarded a 1st Place 2020 CIPA EVVY Award for non-fiction, 2021 elit Gold Award for Humor, 2021 elit Gold Award for Best Author Website, and 2021 Independent Press Distinguished Favorite Award.

My Shorts is a collection of true stories featuring me—a chubby, Cheetos-loving Jewish middle child with overactive sweat glands and an abundant imagination. My tendency toward mischief and twisting the truth complicates grappling with issues of childhood, family, relationships, sexuality, and a hunger to be accepted. From lusting for a BB gun, accidentally setting our family shed on fire, to my “first time” ... each story makes you giggle and feel the nostalgic joy of the messy, hilarious, and poignant journey we call life.

I write with an honest voice blending humor, Americana culture, and “it’s like I’m right there” scenes with vivid dialogue. My stories are also intended to deliver life lessons that stick with you long after reading and remind you that no matter what, never forget to laugh.

I live in Denver, Colorado with my wife Lynn and mini-dachshund Bailey.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

My Shorts: Brief Scenes from My Early Life; A Collection of Personal Essays by Brian Kagan gave me a feeling of nostalgia as I listened to the author’s life story and the lessons he learned as he grew up. This collection takes readers back into the days of the author’s youth when he was a little dorky, a little awkward, and a boatload of fun. The author took readers through the years as he learned to appreciate and understand the most basic necessity in life: to love and be loved.

I loved how the audiobook opened with cheerful music followed by perhaps the best opening sentence for any book. Author Brian Kagan narrated the stories perfectly. He embodied his characters beautifully; Brian had the right accents and the best delivery to leave the most impact on listeners. The narrative and reading style proved to be a double bonus for me, and I was laughing out loud most of the time. It was the best three and half hours of my life!

I enjoyed the way Brian Kagan explored all different shades of love. He talked about his superficial love for toys to falling in love for the first time. The author shared every kind of love and how that love shaped him. Out of all the experiences of love he shared, his love for his mother (and vice versa) and his love for life stood out particularly well. The stories are written with such emotional intensity; I laughed when Brian did and cried when he did. I was doing even the same eye movements as the character. The pace was fast, the humor was alive, and I could feel the author’s personality ooze from each sentence. Absolutely fantastic!

Foluso Falaye

My Shorts: Brief Scenes from My Early Life contains Brian Kagan's stories about growing up as a fat and mischievous child in a Jewish home. Follow Brian's hilarious and heartwarming exploits as he set his father's shed on fire, discovered becoming a man doesn't mean being allowed to have casual sex as a Jewish male, risked getting caught by the father of a girl while he was with her, and much more. Brian Kagan chooses to look back at his life from a comical perspective as he retells his experiences with his shockingly amusing mother, who wanted him to marry a Jewish woman; his fierce and gentle father, who did not spare the rod; and his much-respected athletic older brother, who had a big secret.

From a candid portrayal of Jewish culture to key lessons from an experienced marketing specialist and exploits showing the influence of old western movies on one mischievous American child, My Shorts takes readers on a wild and unpredictable ride rife with culture, excitement, and important life lessons. Several experiences stand out in the book, making it hard to forget. I chuckle every time I remember how the author's mother and a nurse tried to convince him that his medication was sugar. The vivid descriptions put me right in front of the scenes; it was easy to picture the "jet-black, slicked-back hair" of his father and the other picturesque characters and scenes. My Shorts cheered me up instantly and got me to love its characters while revealing the good and bad experiences of an individual and his family through the decades.

The audiobook, which is narrated by the author himself, starts and ends with an upbeat sound that matches the lively mood of the book. Brian Kagan changes his voice to match each character, giving them a unique and identifiable voice. I could recognize who the narrator was trying to portray with each voice change. Brian did a great job in depicting the animated character of himself as a child and the feminine elements of his mother's voice. I liked that the pace of the narration is not too slow or fast. Listening to the clear audio was a calming and therapeutic experience, though I felt the quality was a bit low. In summary, the author's brilliant performance while narrating My Shorts added to why I enjoyed the book.

Cassie Widjaja

My Shorts: Brief Scenes from My Early Life by Brian Kagan is a hilarious collection of true stories starring a chubby, Cheetos-loving Jewish middle child with overactive sweat glands and an abundant imagination. Brian's troublemaking tendencies and habit of twisting the truth further complicates grappling with issues in childhood, family, relationships, sexuality, and a desire to be accepted. From lusting for a BB gun to accidentally setting the family shed on fire, each of Brian’s stories will make you giggle and feel the nostalgic joy of the messy, hilarious, and poignant journey that we call life. Giving a glimpse of life back in the '50s and '60s, this book perfectly blends American culture and humor while delivering life lessons that will stick with you forever.

As the eldest of two children, I can testify that sibling shenanigans can make you laugh or tear your hair out in frustration. Brian Kagan conveys the frustration of being the chubby middle child with an athletic elder brother and a little sister who can do no wrong. My Shorts paints a lovely picture of a loving family. By reading this book, I felt like I knew Brian's family personally and fell in love with his flamboyant mother's antics. While each story is hilarious on its own, the entire collection comes together with its strong ties to familial bonds. Brian Kagan doubles as the narrator of his book, My Shorts. His impressive recollection allows him to perfectly imitate his younger self, as well as his family. The different uses of voice, tone, and depth made this a great audiobook.