Start Without Me by Gary Janetti

Will and Grace writer and creator of the BBC hit series Vicious has once again put a group of humorous, scathing, lighthearted yet warm book of essays together which will make some who are old enough laugh even harder!

In this new collection, Gary reminisces about some memories from childhood, and as a young adult as well as, and in Gary’s classic style, complains about what irks him, and quite frankly many things do. A loner since he left his mother’s womb, he will easily admit to never being a people person. I believe because of this his other senses have taken over and his outlook on life is a bit quirky, but funny in all the right places.

As someone who would rather spend time alone, Gary spent his younger years with his best friend, the television. He would spend summers in front of the tv rather than being outside. Later, as a young adult he would change this as he continually tried to perfect the perfect tan, but that’s another funny essay. One summer his mother made him go to summer day camp. It lasted three days. Then he was back to watching all his stories down in the basement again, constantly asking his mother to please put the air-conditioning on and her replying, we had it on yesterday.

In another essay he tells a witty and truly genius story getting out of gym. In high school Gary really had no friends and he was not athletic, so when it came to a quarter of football in gym, Gary was adamant he would not take that quarter. Now Gary went to a Catholic high school with nuns. So, he decided to go to the guidance counselor during gym time and tell her this story about how he was upset with his home life because his parents were divorcing (they were not) and his mother was drinking (she was not). She was so taken aback by his story that she continued the whole quarter to give him a pass from gym class so he could come talk to her. As he began to run out of drama, he would throw in bits from the soap operas he would watch when he got home from school! The nun was mesmerized.

I think my favorite essay was “Irene” about the first neighbor they met when they moved into the house his parents still live in over fifty years ago. She came over to introduce herself and told them she had lived on the street the longest of any of the neighbors. Her mother became best friends with her through the years and she became Gary’s second mother, telling her things he perhaps would not say to his parents. It’s a beautifully written piece and shows Gary actually does have a heart!

An extremely funny story is the one in which Gary tells the reader he moves constantly. The reason being he does not want to talk to the neighbors. It’s too much pressure for him. He would rather be late for an appointment than go outside when one of the neighbors is out there. And when he has accidently actually conversed with a neighbor? Well, you will just have to read the essay!

Start Without Me is a truly hilarious look at Gary Janetti’s life. For some, the essays some of which span the 1980’s and 90’s will be incredibly relatable! Janetti is a quiet man who does not appreciate interacting with people, which in the business he is in is quite the oxymoron. He sometimes writes what we all sometimes feel with incredible style and incredible timing!

Thank you #NetGalley #HenryHoltandCo. #GaryJanetti #StartWithoutMe for the advanced copy.

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