Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation (Adam Resnick)

3.5 out of 5 stars

*Got an ARC from Goodreads*

Pros:

1. Strong, comedic voice. There are times when Resnick’s voice (though that’s almost not a strong-enough word, it’s almost like a developed and honed persona here) really shines through, and that’s when the writing is the strongest. Though it’s meant to be memoir-like, there are parts when it feels more stand-up-comedy rant, and that’s when it actually flows the best, when you can almost picture a younger, maybe slightly-less-angry Lewis Black narrating this to you…

Pros (cont):

2. Parts of it work really well. There are a couple stories where things just seem to click well: when he’s describing his father’s love/hate relationship with everything from mini-wheats to Resnick’s mother, sections when he’s talking less about the things he hates and more about the people and/or moments that he’s loved (his daughter, his second-grade crush who was, for a while at least, his socially backward soul mate), his brush with being a life insurance salesman. There’s at least one place where he speaks directly to the audience about a “milk shake” and a fast-food-chain-which-shall-not-be-named that is clever and well written.

3. Great dialog. The characters are at their best and the writing feels clearest and most honest when they’re speaking with one another.

 

Cons:

1. Many of the stories/essays/vignettes feel like they have potential, but need to be developed a little more.

2. There are times when the anger of the narrator feels a little over-the-top in a way that probably works great if acted or even read aloud, but feels a little displaced and a bit wearying story after story.

 

Overall, a mostly enjoyable, very quick read. Not sure it’s something I’ll revisit right away, but I was happy to have read it.

 

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Posted in Nonfiction

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