I Shudder

I Shudder

3.5 10
by Paul Rudnick
     
 

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I Shudder is a side-splittingly funny collection of essays from Paul Rudnick, one of America’s preeminent humorists. Rudnick, who writes for The New Yorker and has written the screenplays for the films In and Out, Sister Act, and Addams Family Values, shares his hilarious observations on life in New York City and New Jersey, the

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Overview

I Shudder is a side-splittingly funny collection of essays from Paul Rudnick, one of America’s preeminent humorists. Rudnick, who writes for The New Yorker and has written the screenplays for the films In and Out, Sister Act, and Addams Family Values, shares his hilarious observations on life in New York City and New Jersey, the perils of show business, and dealing with one’s family, however crazy they may be. As David Sedaris says, “There’s no book wiser or half as funny as I Shudder. 

Editorial Reviews

Alida Becker
…[a] collection of uproariously self-deprecating essays about being gay and Jewish in suburban New Jersey and downtown Manhattan, and about his career as a playwright and script doctor in Hollywood and on Broadway…Rudnick is in firm control of a hilariously large-scale personality.
—The New York Times
Michael Lindgren
Rudnick is a likable and accomplished raconteur who never loses sight of his own absurdity in I Shudder…only the most sour and jaded reader will be able to resist him.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Best known for his hilarious stage and screen plays, Paul Rudnick courageously takes on a David Sedaris style of memoir with this collection of essays. Rudnick offers a hilarious romp through the many components of his life: from the sweet tooth that landed him in child therapy to his debut Broadway play, I Hate Hamlet—and everything in between. Rudnick's humor comes from his ability to buoyantly portray the “large-scale personalities” that fill his life, including his Jewish aunts, a neurotic agent and a flamboyant costume-designer friend. With such a cast of characters in his own life, it's no wonder Rudnick developed the comical genius within his hit screenplays: The Addams Family, Sister Act and In & Out. Yet in these essays, Rudnick never sacrifices honesty for humor. Rather—as the title suggests—he tastefully incorporates humor into real-life issues, such as his father's death and his friend's struggles with AIDS. In addition to Rudnick's personal essay, he offers the narrative of Elyot Vionnet—Rudnick's alter ego of sorts—whose crude insights are woven throughout the book in the form of journal entries paired with absurd events. Elyot Vionnet is a compilation of Rudnick's friends and family—plus a truly New York sense of entitlement. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Rudnick, a celebrated playwright, screenwriter, and novelist who also writes regularly for The New Yorker, was born in Piscataway, NJ, and now lives in New York City. His new book is chaotic and head spinning as it opens inside the confining space of his first 10' × 15' studio apartment in New York—he, his parents, and two of his aunts discuss everything from toilet brushes to bugs in fast and scattershot discourse. In this first chapter, Rudnick succeeds in introducing and enveloping the reader in his life and family and sets the pace for the remainder of the essays, which run the gamut of Rudnick's experiences, from collaborating with Disney executives in developing his Sister Act script to working as a janitor for a summer cabaret. These are punctuated by diary excerpts from Elyot Vionnet, an especially sassy and (one assumes) fictional New Yorker who muses on life in the city. VERDICT Rudnick's outlandish stories, witty oration, and seemingly impossible characters will appeal to fans of Josh Kilmer-Purcell, David Sedaris, and Augusten Burroughs.—Mark Alan Williams, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Kirkus Reviews
Scenarist Rudnick (I'll Take It, 1989, etc.) presents 15 humorous pieces. The author, a celebrated screenwriter, playwright and columnist, delivers a collection of autobiographical essays sure to please fans of David Sedaris and Jonathan Ames, though his work is not as convulsively funny as the former or scandalously titillating as the latter. Rudnick is a master of the breezy quip and projects a refreshingly modest restraint, avoiding the sometimes cloying navel-gazing common to the genre; the author's role in his stories is more of a spectator than a central character. Rudnick writes about his family and career, dishing behind-the scenes dirt (albeit pretty mild dirt) from productions of films including Sister Act (1992), The First Wives Club (1996) and In & Out (1997). There is no mention of the disastrous remake of The Stepford Wives (2004), which is understandable but disappointing. The author's profiles of outsize showbiz types like producer Allan Carr and mercurial British actor Nicol Williamson are vivid and droll. The concluding piece, a remembrance of his friends at the infamous Chelsea Hotel at the height of its squalid glamour, is a sweetly affecting portrait of a vanished bohemian New York City. A look back at the early days of the AIDS crisis is similarly moving. The funniest essays are excerpts from the fictional diary of one Elyot Vionnet, a fussy older gentleman whose horror over the insipidness and vulgarities of modern life repeatedly leads to comically satisfying bloodshed and chaos. Rudnick's gift for the skewed first-person narrative will be familiar to fans of his "Libby Gelman-Waxner" columns from Premiere magazine. Vionnet is an equally rich and amusing character,and a book-length volume of his memoirs would be a treat. A witty, satisfying collection of American humor.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061959578
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/15/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
934,521
File size:
741 KB

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Meet the Author

Playwright, screenwriter, and novelist Paul Rudnick's celebrated works include the plays I Hate Hamlet and Jeffrey, and the screenplays In & Out and Addams Family Values. He also writes regularly for The New Yorker. Born in Piscataway, New Jersey, he now lives in New York City.

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I Shudder: And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
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He grins slightly and he plays with your tounge with his
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Smiles. And slides her tounge in ur mouth.