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Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of…

Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation

by Adam Resnick

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L.O.V.E.D. it. Tons of swearing and inappropriateness: still, I loved it. "...how absurd to think I'd agree to put myself on display, to allow people to see my face and read my name" (in the newspaper, pg 229).... "There's nothing more delicious than luxuriating in the minutiae of a diabolical plot" (pg 247). ...
Work article:
Adam Resnick has pulled together hilarious tales from his life that illustrate his reluctance to interact with people and the belligerence that raises its head when he is forced into social situations. He “refuses to be burdened by chores like basic social obligation and personal growth, living instead by his own steadfast rule: I refuse to do anything I don’t want to do.” Resnick is an Academy Award-winning author for NBC’s “Late Night with David Letterman,” so his self-deprecation is no surprise. Though many will view his behavior and thinking process as outrageous, his is a very likeable and enjoyable voice. Will Not Attend is full of laugh-out-loud funny stories told by an eccentric friend.

A note for readers: profanity is widespread throughout the book, and some may find his stories rude and offensive. ( )
  SaraMSLIS | Jan 30, 2016 |
Being a David Sedaris reader, I developed skepticism years ago about personal accounts that scream 'funny!' on the book's covers and reviews (I'm still not quite over a comparison to David by a reviewer on one of Laurie Natoro's books years ago. I was essentially offended). So, I wasn't expecting hysterical. There were some (5 or so?) laugh-out-loud bits, however I was generally disappointed. There was a lot of dullness in his story telling--skipped a couple of stories. Title was misleading as there was really only one story about his aversion to attending social events and very little of him actually avoiding interaction with people. Also--a personal preference, so not necessarily a criticism but I do not like childhood accounts, of which this had several. ( )
  ShelBeck | Jan 27, 2016 |
First thing: Adam Resnick is not for everyone. Resnick is not warm and cuddly, and he uses curse words freely (and with great dexterity). He is neither Cliff Huxtable nor Ward Cleaver, and if you go into this book looking for them, you'll be disappointed. But if you've ever fumed at the oblivious people around you, chafed at family entanglements, been drowned in self-doubt, or anything like these experiences, you'll like his take on the world. Best book I've read in a while. ( )
  Dogberryjr | Sep 28, 2014 |
Will Not Attend is a little like getting invited to dinner with Adam Resnick. He has the seat of honor at the head of the table, and he's got a crazy leer on his face, like he's about to do something unspeakable to the mashed potatoes or the roast chicken.
So you take your seat, with a little apprehension, because you're not so sure you're going to like what he does with those mashed potatoes, that crazy grin. You notice the restraints on the chair you're about to sit in.
"Don't worry," says the maitre'd, "those aren't for you." But that's exactly the sort of thing that makes you worry more.
As you sit and the maitre'd sinks back into the shadows you notice that Mr. Mesnick actually has *two* heads… No, good God, three! It's like you've been let into a freak show tent where they serve dinner. Each one had a different, maniacal grin. One, the younger one, has a frightened rabbit of a grin, likely from living in and amongst a slew of brothers and a steamroller of a trip of a dad. The second has a more innocent smile, though you get the sense that that second head is thinking about, at first, what items from the back of a comic book he was going to send away for and how he'd organize them on his bureau when they arrived, but then started to think of girls and sex and all the rest. The third is an older, more hardened grin as if it's just eaten a mouthful of tacks by accident but, by God, it's going to muscle through and eat them and seem to enjoy it, damnit.
The second head begins speaking first, telling you some story about an Easter egg hunt and a conspiracy between two young kids, a girl and a boy… and you begin to get where it all went off the rails for this head. The first head interrupts the second, and then the third starts, as if just awakened, and soon they're all going, each telling a different story, sometimes overlapping, oftentimes not.
But you're not tied into the chair, and the maitre'd, or someone, keeps bringing another glass of wine, or beer, or sparkling flavored water, so you stick around. You haven't opened your mouth since you arrived, your tweed jacket with the professorial patches on the elbows still on, something the maitre'd forgot to take from you.
Despite his neurotic, somewhat abrasive personality, you like this guy, you like his stories. He tells them with humor, self-deprecating at most times. He's got them down to a science, by now, so that they flow naturally, and even the multitude of heads talking over the course of the evening doesn't seem odd or awkward, just a natural, rambling flow. You get the sense that, were you to sit down next to this guy in a bar, this guy with three heads, that he'd be a miserable bastard, sitting on his own, in silence, looking out at everyone in the bar through hooded eyelids, maybe grumbling obscenities to himself, clutching his plastic bag from The Strand. But this special performance, here at his table, is where he shines, where he feels most comfortable and, warts and all, he's pretty damn entertaining.

I got this book through Penguin's First to Read program (http://www.firsttoread.com). While I enjoyed the book, I didn't quite enjoy the ebook reader I had to use (Bluefire Reader on my iPad -- hence the tweed jacket with the elbow patches, eh? Look at me, all fancy with an iPad. ). Whether it was a limitation of the app or because of a limitation the publisher set on the content I couldn't take notes, notes which would have made this review at least 14% more amazing. The app also crashed on me a few times and forgot my bookmark when I came back to reading. So Bluefire, 1 star, this book, 4 stars. ( )
  mhanlon | May 1, 2014 |
Adam Resnick wants to withdraw. He hates small talk, meeting people, talking on the phone or hearing his own

voice. He admits to being hostile, short tempered, paranoid and nervous. He classifies it a his "basic

revulsion for human interaction". He's someone who always sees the darkside of any situation. In short, he

is a classic candidate to write humor with a psychotic tinge.

And so Resnick exposes his family, his wife, daughter and a litany of personal memories to an unsuspecting

public. The stories are very realistc, very possible, very human. They are funny because of their

familiarity and because Resnick structures paragraphs to include curveballs and zingers. He is after all, a

comedy writer for the likes of Saturday Night Live, David Letterman and Chris Elliott. It shows.

He is one of six boys in his family. He is a middle child, tremendously put upon by people and events. And

this carries through to his own family later. His father is a foul mouthed brute ready for violence at the

slightest urging or lack thereof, something he passes on to five of his sons, who always seem to be fighting

or otherwise in trouble. In other words, a good old fasioned traditional American family.

Will Not Attend is of course, reminscent of the grand age of short story telling lead by Stephen Leacock,

Robert Benchley and James Thurber, followed by countless others. It's a genre more difficult than it first

seems, and Resnick builds it nicely as the book progresses, or ages, perhaps. It is cohesive and

straightforward, and Resnick makes it worthwhile to remember the players he introudces, because they

reappear in other stories.

It's good reading except for all the four letter words. There isn't a story without them. Lots of them. His

father leads the way, hardly able to utter a sentence without them, but his teachers curse (him) just as

freely, as does his wife, and even his publisher's lawyer. About the only one who doesn't is his seven year

old daughter. She'll learn. It's the hiphop version of James Thurber. The effect of all the swearing is of

course, self nullifying. It quickly ceases to have any impact at all, and becomes part of the background

noise, to be ignored. Get past it, and Will Not Attend is very entertaining.

David Wineberg ( )
  DavidWineberg | Mar 7, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399160388, Hardcover)

An unabashedly hilarious memoir-in-essays from Adam Resnick, former writer for Late Night with David Letterman.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:39 -0400)

"An unabashedly hilarious memoir-in-essays from Adam Resnick, former writer for Late Night with David Letterman"--

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