Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Cruel Shoes Hardcover – February, 1982

4.2 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
Hardcover, February, 1982
$57.28 $5.07

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T) (February 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517330806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517330807
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,818,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Martin, one of the most diversified performers in the motion picture industry today--actor, comedian, author, playwright, producer, musician - has been successful as a writer of and performer in some of the most popular movies of recent film history.

In March of 2010, Martin, along with Alec Baldwin, co-hosted the 82nd Annual Academy Awards - his third time serving as host of the prestigious award show.

On January 31st, 2010, Steve Martin's banjo album, The Crow / New Songs For The Five-String Banjo, won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album.

Christmas 2009 saw Martin share the screen with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in Universal's "It's Complicated." The comedy, directed by Nancy Meyers, tells the story of a divorced couple (Streep and Baldwin) who discover that their feelings for one another might not have completely disappeared. Martin plays Adam, the soft-spoken and sweet architect who also vies for Street's characters' affection.

In 2008, Martin had two books published: In October, Doubleday released a children's book titled The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z!, co-written with fellow The New Yorker illustrator Roz Chast. In December, Martin's autobiography, Born Standing Up, was published by Scribner.

Additionally, in December of 2007, Martin was the recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor.

In February 2006, Martin was seen in "The Pink Panther" playing the role of Inspector Clouseau, originally made famous by Peter Sellers. The film, which reunites Martin with director Shawn Levy, costarred Beyonce Knowles and Kevin Kline. In 2009, Mr. Martin will revived his role of Inspector Clouseau in "The Pink Panther 2."

In 2005, Martin received critical praise for the Touchstone Pictures film "Shopgirl," costarring Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman. The screenplay was written by Martin and adapted from his best-selling novella of the same name. "Shopgirl" follows the complexities of a romance between a young girl, who works at a Los Angeles Saks Fifth Avenue glove counter while nurturing dreams of being an artist, and a wealthy older man, who is still learning about the consequences that come with any romantic relationship.

Christmas 2003, Martin starred in the highest grossing film of his career, "Cheaper by the Dozen," directed by Shawn Levy for 20th Century Fox. The family comedy, co-starring Bonnie Hunt and Hillary Duff, has grossed over $135 million domestically. Christmas 2005 saw the much anticipated sequel "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" staring the original cast and adding in a rival family, headed by Eugene Levy. In February of 2003, Martin starred with Queen Latifah in the blockbuster comedy, "Bringing Down the House" for Touchstone Pictures which gross $132.7 million.

Mr. Martin hosted the 75th Annual Academy Awards in 2003, his second time handling those duties, the first being the 73rd Oscars. The 75th Annual Academy Awards was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, including a nomination for "Outstanding Individual Performance In a Variety or Music Program".

Born in Waco, Texas and raised in Southern California, Mr. Martin became a television writer in the late 1960's, winning an Emmy Award for his work on the hit series "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." By the end of the decade he was performing his own material in clubs and on television.

Launched by frequent appearances on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," Mr. Martin went on to host several shows in the innovative "Saturday Night Live" series and to star in and co-write four highly rated television specials. When performing on national concert tours, he drew standing-room-only audiences in some of the largest venues in the country. He won Grammy Awards for his two comedy albums, "Let's Get Small" and "A Wild and Crazy Guy," and had a gold record with his single "King Tut." In 2003, Martin also won a Grammy® Award for Best country instrumentalist for his playing on Earl Scruggs 75th Anniversary album.

Mr. Martin's first film project, "The Absent-Minded Waiter," a short he wrote and starred in, was nominated for a 1977 Academy Award. In 1979, he moved into feature films, co-writing and starring in "The Jerk," directed by Carl Reiner. In 1981, he starred opposite Bernadette Peters in Herbert Ross' bittersweet musical comedy, "Pennies From Heaven."

The actor then co-wrote and starred in the 1982 send-up of detective thrillers, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" and the science fiction comedy "The Man With Two Brains," both directed by Carl Reiner. In 1984, Mr. Martin received a Best Actor Award from both the New York Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review for his performance opposite Lily Tomlin in "All of Me," his forth collaboration with writer/director Carl Reiner.

In 1987, his motion picture hit, "Roxanne," a modern adaptation of the Cyrano de Bergerac legend, garnered Martin not only warm audience response, but also a Best Actor Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Best Screenplay Award from the Writer Guild of America. Mr. Martin was also the executive producer on the film.

In 1988, he costarred with Michael Caine in the hit comedy film "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," his second feature collaboration with director Frank Oz (the first being "Little Shop of Horrors"). In 1989, he starred with Mary Steenburgen and Diane Wiest in Ron Howard's affectionate family comedy, "Parenthood" for Universal Pictures.

In 1991, Mr. Martin wrote, starred in and co-executive produced the critically acclaimed comedy, "L.A. Story," a motion picture about a love story set in Los Angeles. That same year he made a cameo appearance in Lawrence Kasdan's critically lauded "Grand Canyon" and starred with Diane Keaton in the hit Disney film "Father Of The Bride," receiving the People's Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Comedy Motion Picture for the latter. In 1992, he starred in the Universal comedy feature "Housesitter," opposite Goldie Hawn, winning the People's Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Comedy, for the second year in a row.

In 1996, he starred again with Diane Keaton in the hit sequel to "Father of the Bride," and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. In 1997, he received universal critical acclaim for his riveting performance in director David Mamet's thriller, "The Spanish Prisoner."

Mr. Martin wrote and starred in the hilarious 1999 feature comedy, "Bowfinger," opposite Eddie Murphy for Director Frank Oz. The film was showcased at the Deauville International Film Festival.

Mr. Martin's other films include classic comedies like Frank Oz's "Little Shop of Horrors," in which he played a demented dentist; John Hughes' "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," co-starring John Candy and the comic Western send-up "The Three Amigos" co-staring Marin Short and Chevy .

In the fall of 1993, Mr. Martin's first original play, the comedy-drama "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," was presented by Chicago's prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre. Following rave reviews and an extended run in Chicago, the play was presented successfully in Boston and Los Angeles, and then Off-Broadway in New York at the Promenade Theatre, to nationwide critical and audience acclaim. It has since been, and continues to be, mounted in productions worldwide. "WASP" a one act play that Martin wrote, was first performed at the Public Theatre in NY in 1995. "The Underpants," a dark comedy Mr. Martin adapted from the 1911 play by Carl Sterneim, premiered Off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company on April 4, 2002.

In 1996, Mr. Martin was honored with a retrospective of his work, by the American Film Institute's Third Decade Council at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. He was also presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. In 2004 Martin was honored for his film work by the American Cinematheque.

A selection of paintings from his extensive, private, modern art collection was given a special exhibition at the Bellagio Hotel gallery in Las Vegas in 2000, with catalog notes written for the show my Mr. Martin.

After the success of his first novella Shopgirl Mr. Martin's second novella, "The Pleasure of My Company," published by Hyperion, once again was ranked on best seller lists around the country including the New York Times. He has written a best selling collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, and his work frequently appears in The New Yorker and the New York Times.

He lives in New York City and Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Cruel Shoes is Steve Martin's masterpiece book. While some of the passages seem to make little to no sense, other passages are laugh-out-loud brilliant.
The best passages in the this book are "Cruel Shoes" and "The Diarrhea Gardens of El Camino Real". These passages poke fun at women's desire for shoes and environmentalists with the wrong idea. Other classics include "The Turds", "Wrong Number", and "Comedy Events You Can Do". "The Last Thing on My Mind" is the kind of thought prvoking comedy that is the trademark of George Carlin. "Society in Aspen" also has its moments including naming Jesus as a frequent horse shoe player.
The only soft spot in the book is the poetry. I am not sure where Martin was going with it, but it really does not work. Also many of the pages are pictures which seems somewhat wasteful when the pictures are poor quality.
With all of the classic humor in the book, there is no reason it should be out of print. It is a bargain at the available used prices.
Comment 17 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I found this book at the local library several years ago, when I was a senior in high school. The result? Hours and hours spent trying to write a story as funny as Martin's -- during class. I do, however, forgive him for making me end school on a bad note, since he wrote such a remarkable book!
I don't think anyone can really understand how bizarre Martin's humor is until they read his short (very short) stories. Most of the stories seem to be a bizarre twist on the small things of our everyday life. Did you ever stop to think if apologizing was a sufficient penance for dialing a wrong number? Did you ever wonder how far women's obsessions with shoes could go? Have you ever envisioned dogs leading a separate life? If you've been too short-sighted and overlooked these weighty matters, Steve Martin will right this wrong in your life.
Most of the stories are brilliantly funny (for some reason, THE SMOKERS just kills me), some are just too bizarre for words. Some of the stories seem to be a random jumble of sentences - which sometimes works (Shuckin' the Jive) and sometimes fails (The Vengeful Curtain Rod). It's not perfect, but definitely worth a look if you're looking for a unique kind of comedy.
2 Comments 29 of 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on April 24, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Somewhere in a box at my father's home is a abused beaten up copy of this magnificent text. I see some future historian stumbling over this book, in some distant millennium and wondering what in the hell is going on here. Was this the 20th Century? Looking around at the slobbering, still biting, yackeddy yackeddy misbred poodles that will be inhabiting our poor planet even centuries hence, the discoverer will surely see these dimunations as the true source of all of man's folly, and realize, like Steve Martin so aptly does in his work, that man can only be saved when one sees poodles as good eating.
Mr Martin's genius is on display throughout the text. Not even Congressman Henry Waxman could see the even greater danger that is in store for the cigarette smoker.This book clearly reveals how cigarettes can lead, in there folly, to a lip shortage that nobody can truly desire.
The absence of this book from current shelves can only be descibed as a national tragedy, with maybe even a conspiracy angle to boot (take note Oliver Stone). Someone must rectify this now (with perhaps an annotated edition (with all of the completely new pictures that the cover claimed were inside), before the bridge to the future is rusting and littered with poodle droppings. The future is at stake, try to remember that. Sincerely, Winslow Homo
Comment 2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
In fourth grade, while my classmates played kickball, I sat by myself on the swings and read Steve Martin's "Cruel Shoes" (heck - I was always picked last anyway!). From the first time I read about "The Day the Dopes Came", I was an instant fan. Martin taught me to look at the world from an absurdist perspective. I no longer cared what my classmates thought of me! They're all a bunch of turds anyway (see Martin's "Turds from Turdsmania" article). Bless you Steve!
Comment 11 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
One of the things I liked about Steve Martin's recent autobiography (Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life) is that it "filled in the gaps" of the Steve Martin phenomenon. I grew up with Martin, from his appearances on Saturday Night Live (the first five years), to his many appearances on the Johnny Carson Show (remember the world's biggest joke?), his concerts on college campuses, his acting in The Jerk and Roxanne, and, eventually, to his writing. I'm certain Cruel Shoes is the first book authored by Martin that I read. Others, including Shopgirl and Pure Drivel, followed.

He is a very talented person.

I've probably told the "Cruel Shoes" title story twenty times, when the conversation came round to the strange shoes women sometimes wear. "Look... the cruel shoes!," is not an uncommon expression in our family, particularly when somebody stumbles because (why else) they are wearing, "the cruel shoes."

This is a small book with short stories and poems. There is a complexity to many of the stories that requires rumination.


"Dr. Fitzkee's Lucky Astrology Diet

The problem with the diets of today is that most women who do achieve that magic weight, seventy-six pounds, are still fat. Dr. Fitzkee's Lucky Astrology Diet is a sure-fire method of reducing with the added luxury that you never feel hungry. Here's how the diet works:

Foods Allowed.
First Month: one egg.
Second month: a raisin.
Third month: pumpkin pie with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

If after the third month you haven't gotten to your dream weight, try lopping off parts of your body until those scales tip just right for you" (p. 100-1).
Read more ›
Comment 1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews