WILL NOT ATTEND by Adam Resnick

WILL NOT ATTEND

Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Emmy-winning screenwriter Resnick holds nothing back in this debut of shamelessly personal tales.

Parents, siblings, former teachers, the blue-haired woman on the eighth floor—everyone is fair game in the author’s world. Darting from one defining (or scarring) memory to another, Resnick honestly recounts early childhood mishaps, the confusion of adolescence and the truly confounding notion of fatherhood. The writing is sharp and sharp-tongued, sometimes close to the line of mean-spirited—the book is not for readers who are easily offended. The opening story centers on a classmate’s Easter party, which Resnick had no intentions of attending until he realized his crush would be there. At the party, the author bonded with the young girl based on their mutual dislike of other kids, and they set out to find the “special” Easter egg filled with money. What he actually found was a highly inappropriate picture in the host’s filing cabinet that sent his crush fleeing, never to speak to him again. Meanwhile, Resnick’s young mind was forever warped and confounded by the image. The vulgar, adult language employed while explaining the story from his young self’s perspective is simultaneously unsettling and uproarious and sets the tone for the rest of the collection. Incidents—like the apartment porter’s pitching a screenplay while the elevator was delayed or when Resnick threw out his daughter’s piano while she was on vacation—could be pulled straight from lost scripts of Curb Your Enthusiasm. The stories of Resnick’s first job at a sleazy insurance company and his refusal as a child to pose with a frozen turkey at the supermarket stand out for their wit and relatability. The author’s aversion to just about everything paints him as nihilistic and cynical, but the subtle moments of genuine vulnerability remain the heart of every story. These moments prove redemptive for a character who sometimes feels beyond saving and shed light on how he developed such comically twisted viewpoints.

A neurotic, unapologetic, hilarious collection.

Pub Date: May 8th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-399-16038-7
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2014




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