Will Not Attend: Live­ly Sto­ries of Detach­ment and Isolation

Adam Resnick
  • Review
By – November 25, 2014

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.

Relat­ed content:

Miri­am Rinn has been an edi­tor and writer for decades, recent­ly retir­ing from a posi­tion as com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ag­er for JCC Asso­ci­a­tion. Her writ­ing has appeared in many news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines and she has won numer­ous awards, includ­ing a Rock­ow­er, for her work. She is a reg­u­lar review­er of books, film, and the­ater in print and on the Web, and is also the author of a children’s nov­el called The Sat­ur­day Secret, which has been cho­sen as a selec­tion by PJ Library.

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