Do You Mind If I Cancel? (Things That Still Annoy Me) by Gary Janetti
Published by Flatiron Books on October 22nd, 2019
Genres: Humour, Memoir, Non-Fiction
“Let’s see, what else? Don’t go into debt over clothes. Hug your dogs while you have them. Know that you can skip most anything. You will fall in love eventually. Remember that. Also, the things you like aren’t weird. Don’t worry about being normal. It’s an awful thing to aspire to.”
Gary Janetti runs the funniest Instagram account. And I only found out about it earlier this year. If you’re obsessed with the royals, well, this account is for you. He writes hilarious captions usually in the voice of Prince George. Do you need to read Prince George’s sassy thoughts? YES.
Janetti’s book is a collection of essays that chronicle his life, his pains and indignities of everyday life, and what he’s learned along the way. He spends most of his twenties in New York, dreaming of starring on soap operas while in reality working at a hotel where he lusts after an unattainable colleague. He writes about the torture of finding a job before the internet, and fantasizes about who he’ll tell off when he finally wins an Oscar.
I had pretty high expectations for this book since I’m such a fan of Janetti online. But unfortunately, this book just wasn’t memorable for me.
Each essay felt incomplete. I was shocked every time when I got to the last sentence, flipped the page, and it was on to the next story.
The last sentence of each essay never successfully provided a satisfactory ending. And it also never made sense in the plot of what the essay was about.
But having said that, I sometimes found his essays to be rambly. Each essay didn’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. And it comes across as if there was no attention to pacing. Janetti would be focused on one miniscule detail and then gloss over what seemed to be important parts of the story.
It felt disjointed all the way through. He jumped around telling stories about growing up, but then I feel like I learned more about his favourite soap opera plot lines than I did about him.
And while I enjoyed learning about him growing up, him seeing his first broadway musical (I LOVE PATTI LUPONE TOO!), I wanted to learn how he got into show business being a writer.
In fact, I suspect a lot of people want to hear that story since the life of a TV writer glamorized these days.
I can’t necessarily remember what each essay is about, but Janetti’s gift is that he writes killer one-liners.
There were times where I was reading this on the subway and I had to take a moment to compose myself because I was going to lose it. His snarky asides and his razor-sharp wit comes out in his thoughts while remembering his past.
I really enjoyed the last two pages of the book. And if the rest of it was like that, I’d give this book a much higher rating. It’s great advice in navigating life while being sure of yourself. My favourite line is one that I’ll hold close to me forever:
Also, the things you like aren’t weird. Don’t worry about being normal. It’s an awful thing to aspire to.
If you’re looking for a humorous memoir, I’d probably skip this one. In fact, I’d recommend reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Ali Wong’s Dear Girls.