School Library Journal ‘Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped, & Canceled’

School Library Journal Adult Books for High School Students FRIEDMAN, Jon, ed. Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped, and Canceled. 272p. Villard. 2009.

Reveling in failure is the order of the day in this collection of essays. Some pieces are about relationships, as in Sara Schaefer’s “Jared,” which describes a love affair and traumatizing breakup, conducted strictly via 11th-grade note writing. Others involve poor career choices, such as Kristen Schaal’s account of time spent as a lackluster pink-haired, pink-sunglasses-wearing Miss Peppermint Twist in the F.A.O. Schwartz Sweet Shop. And many of the contributors describe creative endeavors that for one reason or another didn’t quite make the cut. These are the meat of the collection, as a who’s who in comedy share the work they forced themselves to do to make ends meet, thought they could pull off for easy cash, wasn’t timely enough, or wasn’t funny. Members of The Kids in the Hall get booed off stage and fistfight on, and writers from SNL’s Weekend Update, The State, and The Onion, among many others, share snicker-inducing bits that perished in production or under an editor’s red pen. For the mass amount of denial found here, Rejected is surprisingly lighthearted and inspiring. There’s something satisfying in unearthing seriously cringe-worthy work or memories of some of the best and the brightest in comedy. There’s also relief in realizing that some quality endeavors were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Teens will check out this one for its star contributors and their humor, and appreciate it for its realism and sincerity.—Shannon Peterson, Kitsap Regional Library, WA