Book Review: Gary Janetti’s Do You Mind If I Cancel? will make starry-eyed dreamers laugh like it’s 1989

The latest book from Gary Janetti, Do You Mind If I Cancel? might be a small one, but it contains some big laughs. This collection of essays recalls Janetti’s time as a twenty-something year old living in New York City. It is a book that will appeal to fans of David Sedaris and his colourful and comedic writing style.

Janetti is a Los Angeles-based writer who has worked on Family Guy and Will & Grace. He also has an Instagram account where he pokes fun at the Royal Family; captioning their photos and news articles. He has done very well for himself. But, when he was younger he was an aspiring writer and actor who had achieved very little. His time instead was devoted to working a series of mediocre jobs.

This book is not about writing craft or style, but it does show how Gary Janetti found his voice. As a fledgling writer he often felt like he was an outsider hoping to be something more. He had trouble making in-roads at some of his jobs, even as a waiter in a busy restaurant. Janetti can be very relatable. A lot of us have had big dreams and have felt like we were toiling away, to no avail. Janetti sweeps these readers up with his entertaining stories and funny anecdotes.

Another big thread in these eighteen essays is Janetti coming to terms with his sexuality. These days he is happily married to his long-term boyfriend but as a young man he had to figure a few things out. He describes attending his first musical and the influence of Cher when he was a young fan. He probably should credit Ferris Bueller – even though this is a fictional character – for the inspiration to his essay about pretending to be sick from school too. The only thing missing from that one is crashing Cameron’s father’s car!

Do You Mind If I Cancel? is an entertaining little book full of the considered and witty asides that you would whisper to your friend in private. It’s an easy and breezy summer read that allows you to immerse yourself in Janetti’s self-deprecating sense of humour and trademark wit. Gary Janetti’s essays are ultimately razor-sharp and nostalgic and a colourful meditation on how those big dreams can one day become a reality.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Gary Janetti’s Do You Mind If I Cancel? is available now through Flatiron Books and Pan Macmillan Australia.

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