From Publishers Weekly
For 12 years, Jordan (aka Dishwasher Pete) tramped about the U.S. washing dishes. Despite a survey of 740 occupations in which "dishwasher ranked #735," Jordan, then in his mid-30s, sees the inherent benefits of the job: downtime in between meals, free food (and beer), being able to quit at a moment's notice and an abundance of similar opportunities all over the country. The writing is lucid and earnest, and Jordan's passion for dishwashing and, even more so, for blowing-in-the-wind traveling, is infectious. As his quest extends from one year to the next, and he questions the worthiness of his goal to "bust suds" in all 50 states, he demonstrates an ability to convey his deepest fears without losing the upbeat, fun tone that pervades the entire memoir. What does hurt this rather lengthy book's pacing is that every dishwashing job (save a few) is pretty much the same, and the descriptions can get as repetitive as a wash cycle. Still, Jordan's knowledge of famous dishwashers (Gerald Ford, Little Richard, etc.) and dishwashers' roles in creating unions adds a substance that juxtaposes nicely with the author's slacker lifestyle. (May)
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*Starred Review* Jordan, sometimes known as "Dishwasher Pete," serves up one of the most entertaining memoirs to appear in quite awhile. The kind of guy who liked drifting from job to job and place to place, Jordan found his calling in the late 1980s: washing dishes. Surprisingly, he thought the work was fun; it was easy to get a job (restaurants were always looking for dishwashers); and it was no problem moving around a lot. Soon he had his brilliant idea: he would wash dishes in all 50 states. His quest took him from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, to a fish cannery in Alaska, to a commune in Missouri (and a whole lot of diners, restaurants, and cafeterias in between). Somewhere along the way, he became a cult celebrity: Dishwasher Pete, publisher of an offbeat newsletter, radio personality, and, in one of the book's many high points, a scheduled guest on David Letterman's show (although he never actually appeared on the program). The book's exploration of the dishwashing subculture is fascinating (it even has its own terminology, like "bus tub buffet"), and the author, who now lives in Amsterdam, is an engaging and lighthearted storyteller. Imaginative marketing, from author appearances to radio ads and postcard mailings, should drum up substantial interest in this delightfully offbeat book. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved