Charlie Rubin has a lot to complain about (42 issues!) and he shares it in I’ll Get Right Back to You and other Annoyances: Things That Can Screw Up Your Day… and Even Your Life. Luckily for readers, his complaints are short and some of them are very funny. Think of Rubin as a literary version of Henny Youngman or Rodney Dangerfield.
Rubin, author of Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You and 4-F Blues: A Novel of WWII Hollywood, discloses some uncomfortable, embarrassing, and downright maddening situations. The introduction to I’ll Get Right Back to You and other Annoyances lays it on the line: “You know all those inspirational books…that instruct you to turn the other cheek go with the flow, take everything in your stride? Well, this isn’t that kind of book.”
Charlie Rubin’s idea is much better: take all those annoying experiences, put them in a book, and sell them. After doing that, the best thing to do is F&F (file and forget).
Rubin is no novice writer; he has an extensive background in advertising as well as his experience as an author. As most people know, an extensive background in advertising is also fertile ground for meeting some of the nuttiest folks walking. Rubin’s misadventures are not limited to the ad world, though. He writes of nasty neighbors, conniving co-workers, and faulty family members, too. Readers are bound to recognize some of these characters from their own lives.
Each chapter is named for the annoyance it presents. “People who offer to treat you to a meal. After you’ve ordered,” “When friends suggest you all go out for drinks, dinner, and dancing. At your house,” and “Families in which you are a nobody unless you are a somebody,” are just a few examples.
Some of Rubin’s rants are amusing, others are more serious (“Not getting quarterly reports telling you what our taxes are paying for.”) His life and career have had him residing in a number of places in America and abroad, and his experiences reflect the international character of irritation. Chapter 23, “Close friends you think you know better than yourself. Until you go on a trip with them,” is a favorite (most likely related to familiarity).
Detailing a European tour he embarked on with a very close friend and the friend’s wife and sister, Rubin tells of a trip in which he said good-bye to lots of cash and a friendship. That sounds rather sad here, but his style evokes the right mix of laughs of indignation.
Rubin’s stories are, in turns, sad, ironic, silly, unfair, or unbelievable (in a very believable way). He has obviously endured the slings and arrows of outrageous rudeness and insensitivity that most members of society endure, but he came out laughing.
Bottom Line: Would I buy I’ll Get Right Back to You and other Annoyances? Certainly. It’s hitting the street September 15; also available for pre-order.