To no one’s surprise, the screenwriter of Death to Smoochy and co-producer and writer of HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show is not a cheerful guy. Emmy-winning Adam Resnick gives full vent to his cranky persona in the story collection Will Not Attend. Written in the first person, these purportedly autobiographical stories are filled with a misanthropic disgust at what most of us accept as the socially acceptable hypocrisy that allows us to exist with other people. They are also very funny — most of them, at least. A tonic for anyone exhausted by the relentless positivity of a lot of popular culture, these tales of Resnick’s five terrifying brothers, his brooding brute of a father, his shrewish sister-in-law, and an assortment of other characters he has been forced to deal with from childhood on will bring empathetic laughter to his readers.
Resnick doesn’t loathe everyone. He describes his mother as a saint for putting up with six rambunctious boys in a small suburban house, he can’t praise his daughter enough, and a story about his aging father is surprisingly poignant. But it’s his venomous response to things that makes the book work: the story of Resnick’s going to Disney World with his sister-in-law captures everything that is infuriatingly fake about the beloved theme park; the time he found a piece of metal in a fast-food milkshake evokes the total nastiness of New York City burger chains. Fans of Curb Your Enthusiasm will enjoy another curmudgeon’s twisted take on the world.