From Publishers Weekly
Having grown up poor and gay, with a penchant for punk rock and Lawrence Welk, Mathews, who is now campaign chief for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had a rough start. But his camp, cosmopolitan and crass memoir is like a life lesson from the Island of Misfit Toys: a study of the unwitting heroism and adventures of an outsider dedicated to a cause. Less a treatise than a picaresque tale, his book wouldn't be complete without a bit of persuasion, whether detailing the horrors of the fur industry, factory farming or animal experimentation. But he's as willing to make fun of himself as he is of his many targets—including Vogue
editor Anna Wintour (who, he says, "looks as if she has constant, painful gas") and deli-meat–hurling Iowan children. Then again, this is a man who dresses up regularly in a carrot costume. Aided by humor, luck and friends like Pamela Anderson and Morrissey, Mathews makes clear there is savvy to his controversial methods. "The flair you bring to a protest is as important as the issues themselves—if you want to reach beyond the small core of whoever might care about an issue." Those at odds with Mathews's ideals are bound to find him irritating, but open-minded readers will discover a charming polemicist. (Apr. 17)
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Animal rights activist Mathews is the exuberant mastermind behind many of the audacious, headline-grabbing protests that have made PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) such an effective and controversial organization. And just as PETA's approach to raising awareness of scientific, agricultural, and industrial cruelty toward animals involves strategic high jinks, saucy irreverence, and shock tactics, Mathews, an "agitator by nature," mixes outrageous humor with dishy anecdotes and searing revelations to create a wildly entertaining memoir and a spirited overview of a serious social issue. Openly gay and steeled by the bullying he endured as a boy, Mathews has always felt empathy for animals. Initially a receptionist for PETA in 1985, he proved to be an outside-the-box thinker and daredevil protestor, possessed of as much charm as daring and, at six foot five, impressive good looks. Mathews has enlisted the likes of rockers Morrissey and Chrissie Hynde and sex symbol Pamela Anderson in the cause, and he has advocated and been arrested all over world. The force of his convictions and his love of life electrify every page. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved