Stuart's Reviews > I Shudder and Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey

I Shudder and Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey by Paul Rudnick
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's review
Jun 05, 2010

really liked it
Recommended for: Entertainers, fans of droll humor
Read in May, 2010

I found this book to be just about perfect for a coast to coast flight. There was enough variety to keep me interested, a mix of journalism, memoir, and short fiction. Through it all, there were zingers every fourth page or so that made me laugh out loud.

I'm not a fan of David Sedaris; he's too mean and arch for my taste. In contrast, Rudnick is very sweet both in his portrayals of his family and in his discussions of people in and out of show biz. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body. Rudnick's use of language is always precise and he knows how to write a good sentence.

Plus, here's one thing I didn't expect. His gay perspective on things as pedestrian as those wedding blurbs and photos in the Sunday NY Times (which I read religiously) gave me a window into a different way of thinking. The only thing I found off-putting in this book was Rudnick's discussion of his eating habits Yuck! The man is killing himself. I don't know how he's made it past forty, I really don't. There are some details about a person's life that are best left unsaid even when it comes to memoirs.

Aside from reading about Rudnick's self-destructive nutritional ways - I'm sure we'll hear about his 12 step program and recovery some day - this book is a hoot.
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