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Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America Hardcover – June 3, 2014
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“Fantastical and plush . . . Carsick becomes a portrait not just of America's desolate freeway nodes--though they are brilliantly evoked--but of American fame itself.” ―Lawrence Osborne, The New York Times Book Review
“In this, the seventh of his books, John Waters--the evil genius of Baltimore, the living, breathing embodiment of camp, the man with the bristling pencil-thin mustache and vocabulary that would make a drill sergeant blush--betrays his deepest and darkest secret. In these pages the apostle of outrage--the actor, writer and director whose contributions to cinematic glory include 'Pink Flamingos,' 'Mondo Trasho,' and 'Hairspray'--reveals himself to be a . . . sentimentalist . . . underlying it all is a highly developed sense of fun, a desire to amuse more than to shock . . . Waters has made a funny engaging and--of course--occasionally outrageous book . . . All in all a cool trip and a delightful book.” ―Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
“Mr. Waters has long been that relative rarity among American film directors. He can write. His memoirish volume Role Models is observant and light on its feet, and his essays and journalism, sure to be collected in their entirety someday, are fond, exotic well groomed, debonair--'natty,' to borrow one of my father's favorite words . . . This writer has proved himself to be good company.” ―Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“This is all good, dirty subversive fun . . . a good helping of unbridled lewdness is surely to be expected, and no doubt cherished, from the man known as the king of filth and the pope of trash. However, once [Waters] gets on the road and begins his 'real life' adventure, he comes across as a very different, and much more benign and vulnerable, figure. In many ways, he's an innocent . . . He also has to rely on the kindness of strangers, and he finds it everywhere. Quite a few people mistake him for a homeless man and try to give him a handout. Some of this is deeply moving . . . As he says in the book's acknowledgments, 'If I ever hear another elitist jerk use the term flyover people, I'll punch him in the mouth.' I do believe he will.” ―Geoff Nicholson, San Francisco Chronicle
“*Starred Review* Waters idiosyncratically cuts to the core of American diversity, finding the good (and bad) in any situation with biting wit. The unlikely friendship Waters forms with a young Republican politician is an unexpected twist, and a timely tale of bromance in the midst of hardship. If a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and the pope of Trash can have an adventure in Reno together, aren't all things still possible in this world? But for Waters aficionadoes, the best parts of this enchanting narrative aren't the ones that actually happened. Fans will delight in the two novellas, with Waters at his campiest and most ludicrous, that precede the nonfiction third act . . . Waters devotees take note: this is required reading.” ―Publishers Weekly
“It's rare to find a book that resembles no other book you've ever read. It's rare to find a book that's both funny and profound. John Waters' Carsick is a doubly rare book.” ―Michael Cunningham, author of The Snow Queen
“Face it: Wouldn't you rather strike out on the road with John Waters than Jack Kerouac?” ―Kirkus Reviews
“*Starred Review* There's nothing cheap--er, ungenerous--about Waters, the Pope of Trash (or Filth, or both). His new book is actually three (clap!), three (clap!), three books in one! All are based on the pitch he sold his publisher about hitchhiking from his home in Baltimore to his home in San Francisco. Oh, he knew it was insane--"I'm sixty-six years old, for chrissake"--and so wrote it up in advance, just in case, once imagining "The Best That Could Happen," then again envisioning "The Worst That Could Happen." Because he is, after all, John "Pink Flamingos" Waters, both fictional trips are rather similar in terms of weirdness and even scabrousness, at least in the eyes of those who aren't J "PF" W . . . Travel--uh, hitchhiking--book of the year?” ―Ray Olson, Booklist
“A flavorful book, with the same cheeky sentimentality we experienced in Water's memoir Role Models plus a Divine-sized dose of kitsch. John Waters fans like me will be ecstatic.” ―Annie Coreno, Publishers Weekly
“John Waters is something of a living stunt, in the best possible way. A hero of both American and Americana, Waters has changed the culture of the country as much as any other living filmmaker--Errol Morris, Wes Anderson, or Paul Verhoeven.” ―Choire Sicha, Bookforum
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Top Customer Reviews
What's kind of funny is the whole time I was listening to this, I didn't realize that the beginning stories of those giving him rides were him fantasizing about what might happen. Those stories lasted so far into the story that I didn't even realize they were fantasy. Now when I was listening to them, I kept thinning "yea, right, like THAT really happened." Well, it didn't. But those certainly were some imaginative stories and are a token of the author's over active imagination!
Once he got through the Best Case Scenarios he moved on to the Worst Case and then the real stories of his journey hitchhiking from Baltimore to San Francisco. While the Best Case were definitely the most entertaining to me, all are witty, imaginative and wacky.
As a Christian blogger I would feel it remiss not to mention that there is quite a bit of swearing , sexual situations and innuendos, drugs and most things that some would find offensive. If you know John Waters than that is to be expected. But if you're listening to the audio version, don't put it on with kids in the car and if you are easily offended, don't listen at all.
John Waters is certainly one of a kind and his story telling abilities are amazing both in the writing itself and in his reading of it. Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America is certainly entertaining, wildly amusing and there is never a dull moment whether it be real or imagined.
"I see one of the cute gearheads from yesterday in his pickup pull into the gas station. He's still racing around, hopping in his truck, peeling out to drive the short distance to the other gas station. What on earth is he doing? He must have seen me by now, too! I've been hitching out in front of where he works for two days, but he still resists any greeting. I'm so bored and frustrated I pretend I have a crush on him in an inappropriate Jane Bowles kind of way."
I was already in love with John Waters' latest literary precis of modern culture, Carsick, but the above quoted paragraph on page 224 was the clincher. It speaks to a particular reality of un-reality; being of a particular age of a particular experience of a particular proclivity, standing in full view yet relegated to the sidelines, watching the world race inanely to and fro, feeling dichotomously envious and dismissive, inventing a fantasy context in which one could possibly -- somehow -- become again engaged in life, and yet, knowing that context created from one's own rarefied, recondite frame of reference, a reality of such obscurity -- constructed of a combination of little known nearly lost literary and cultural personal icons, D-list and down on their luck faded entertainers, and porn star legends and tropes thereof long disappeared -- is a context unlikely to be shared, understood, or, even, accepted by anyone else on this earth.
This is a book about being alone. Best case. Worst case. Real case. A clever construct of good fantasy, bad fantasy, and real - un-real life. And all of the versions of all of the stories are lessons in learning to love the encounters that, however briefly, relieve that solitary journey across and through time. Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The 1st chapter my favorite, but Water's "voice" is so cool and sardonic--laughed until it hurtPublished 4 days ago by Carol Ormandy
The book is not my liking! I expected a fun filled, humorous book; not with weird character. I stop reading after few chapters. Please do not recommed similar books again.Published 6 days ago by Ramesh D. Dhekne
Hysterical! Lol'ed several times along with some eeeuuuwww's. Well done JW, took me back to some of my Halloween costumes, I.E. Cherie Noble, day glow everything, haha.Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
It's as depraved as expected and as surprisingly lovely as it could possibly be. You get everything with John Waters.Published 20 days ago by Rose Petralia
While the concept (and ultimate reality) of this book is fascinating, one must keep in mind that it is still John Waters, and not someone else. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Andrew
Waters' best book since Shock Value is a great cure for clinical depression.Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer