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Book Review: Fired! Tales Of The Canned, Canceled, Downsized, & Dismissed
Almost everyone has been fired from a job, and just about everyone has a story to go along with it. Annabelle Gurwitch, the actor and screen writer, decided to capitalize on this fact by compiling and editing a collection of humorous "down-sizing" stories in her book Fired! Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized & Dismissed. After being fired by the media icon (and consequently her idol) Woody Allen, Annabelle decided to take her story to the publishers- along with several other tales from well known actors and media personal, including Bill Maher, Tim Allen, Tate Donovan (actor and director in The O.C.), Harry Shearer (actor in This is Spinal Tap), Dana Gould (writer for The Simpsons), Bob Saget and more.
The book is divided into five chapters: The Job So Terrible You Can Only Hope to Be Fired, The Firing You Didn't See Coming, The Time You Deserved to be Fired, The Time Getting Fired Leads You to Something Better, and The Time You Had to Fire Yourself. Each chapter is as witty as the last, and will keep you reading and laughing through till the next. And with over a dozen "tales of the canned" in each chapter, you will have plenty of laughing to enjoy.
Many of the true stories found in this book are so funny, they will have you laughing out loud. The story of Paul Feig (director of Arrested Development and The Office) losing his Ronald McDonald gig because of a magical comparison between a rubber chicken and Chicken McNuggets he made to a group of school kids while wearing the clown suit will probably remain with me for the rest of my life. In another favorite story, Jeff Garlin (actor in Curb Your Enthusiasm) explains how he was fired for throwing a bowl of Fruity-Pebbles at a hotel wall... and all just because they stuck. Larry Charles (writer for Senifeld) reminds us that Taxi companies should never offer employment to a teen-age kid who has just acquired his license that very day; wrecking his cab before he even got it out of the parking lot. Stories like these are worth the price of this book alone.
To round each story off, the book also includes "Fired Facts": brief and amusing factoids about being fired, and the workplace in general. For example: "Increased risk of heart attack faced by employer firing an employee in the week after wielding the ax: 100%". What a great way to end your career - with your former boss in the hospital!
While Fired! Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized & Dismissed is entertaining (being fired with the line "Take that hanger off your head, you idiot!" may be the best thing that has ever happened to me), it completely fails to connect with the reader. Each story falls into one of two major camps: meaningless high school jobs that no one regrets losing, and glamorous Hollywood jobs that, while interesting, are entirely foreign to the average reader.
In the introduction to this book, Annabelle Gurwitch concludes "So you were fired. Welcome to the club. We've been waiting for you." However, this book fails to present any "club" you or I are ever likely to be a member of. While almost anyone can related with being fired from a job, the stories in this book are quite different from any workplace axing I have experienced. And unless you have felt the horror of losing a job because your character was shot in the last episode, you will probably be unable to relate as well.
If you are looking for a light, entertaining read to get you through the work week, I would recommend Fired! Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized & Dismissed. Though the book will probably not help you reminisce about jobs long past, that may be for the best. What better way to forget about your own "down-sizing" experiences that to hear the stories of a celebrity with their head on the chopping block.
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