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Dreaming of Gwen Stefani Paperback – January 20, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing; First Edition edition (January 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977197263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977197262
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,836,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mortimer Taylor Coleridge used to study evolutionary biology at Columbia. Now he is a dedicated employee of Papaya Queen hot dogs. Master of the bun flip and speedy with the condiments, Coleridge feels he has elevated his job to an art form. Then he stumbles on the episode of TV's Behind the Music featuring Gwen Stefani, and his life is never the same. He buys No Doubt's entire catalog of CDs, jettisons his longtime girlfriend, and undertakes a strenuous fitness regime. He is preparing himself for the day when the glamorous star, who has declared hot dogs as her favorite food, will come strolling into his establishment. Mandery's offbeat debut novel contains a long history of the popularity of the hot dog as well as an in-depth and often absurd parsing of Stefani's lyrics. But Mandery's droll send-up of celebrity worship is more odd than effective since his deadpan reciting of every single detail of Stefani's life is not quite as humorous as he intends. Still, this may appeal to pop-culture junkies looking for a quick read. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Evan Mandery is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has published two works of non-fiction including Eyes on City Hall (Westview Press), a comical chronicle of his experience working on a doomed mayoral campaign. Dreaming of Gwen Stefani is his first novel.

More About the Author

Evan Mandery was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in East Meadow, Long Island. He is the author of three novels: Dreaming of Gwen Stefani, First Contact (Or It's Later Than You Think), and, most recently, Q. He has also written two works of non-fiction: The Campaign, a memoir of the 1997 New York City mayoral campaign, and Capital Punishment, an introduction to the major debates on the death penalty. His most recent book is A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America, published by W.W. Norton. Evan is a professor at the City University of New York, and an avid poker player and golfer. He lives in Manhasset, New York, with his wife, Valli Rajah-Mandery, a sociologist, and their three children.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sean Ferrell on February 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mandery's novel is a smart and funny deconstruction of our pop-obsessed culture. With a Vonnegut-esque eye for the absurd in our daily lives he points out how pop culture fails to fill the gaps in our inner lives, and its virus-like quality (once infected by an obsession we begin to see everything through a certain lense, and become self-blind, losing any perspective). And while it does use the history of the hot dog, evolution, and No Doubt to make its point, the asides on these topics are not merely for show--they are the lens through which the main character, an emotionally myopic college drop-out, views the world. For this reason I whole-heartedly disagree with the Booklist review which stated "But Mandery's droll send-up of celebrity worship is more odd than effective since his deadpan reciting of every single detail of Stefani's life is not quite as humorous as he intends. Still, this may appeal to pop-culture junkies looking for a quick read." Mandery's use of No Doubt's history and lyrics are not there for comedic relief; they are there because the main character (also the narrator, who's pushed himself into a 3rd person perspective) finds them important in his attempt to reclaim a place in the world which isn't dictated by simple biological needs. Not everything here is for laughs. And that's what makes it so strong a novel.

Well worth reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Glen M. Bianchi on February 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mandery serves up a hilarious little gem told through the eyes of his uniquely oddball protagonist, Mortimer Coleridge. Interspersed with witty, entertaining asides on topics ranging from the history of hot dogs and ska music to more earnestly thoughtful takes on evolutionary biology, Mandery uses Coleridge's journey as a comic vehicle to ask deeper questions about the nature of free will. This is a fun, quick read, with Mandery's clever sense of humor in evidence on nearly every page. He leaves you laughing while stimulating your mind.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Lu on February 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
The basic walk through Mortimer's life feels initially like a breath of fresh air from all the other novels out there. His reflections on the subject of love were inspiring. The setting introduces a new concept into other books of this nature where a random intelligent guy falls to what some would consider the lowest of the lows yet manages to integrate his life into someone who he considers the highest of the highs in his mind. In this world, it describes the life of a fan. This book however takes it to the next level delving into the mysteries of love and the unspoken social laws regarding such a ever changing topic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Low on February 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mandery's writing style makes for a quick and entertaining read. The pop culture references and dead pan delivery are reminiscent of Chuck Klosterman and the Family Guy's Seth Macfarlane. I am not a particularly big fan of Stefani or No Doubt but enjoyed the Behind the Music-esque background stories and asides. Mandery uses Coleridge as a spigot for rantings on a myriad topics from hot dogs toppings to evolutionary biology. At times the plot becomes secondary to the narrative but is never overwhelming. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something different and funny.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jess B. on March 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
It would be hard to improve upon the words of Jay McInerney (author of Bright Lights, Big City) who said that this book is "a quirky and compelling riff..."

To his words, I'd add that this isn't just a work of humor. This is a book that makes the reader think about our current culture and how each of us thinks. As you read it, you'll think about your own life, how far you may have gone in the pursuit of past obsessions and what you might do in the protagonist's place. Put simply, it makes you think!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin on February 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
Like the ska-flavored music that he prefers, Mortimer Taylor Coleridge looks to the offbeat for a rhythm to his life. Dreaming of Gwen Stefani describes Mortimer's obsessions by narrative and chronicle with humor and insight. The book provides a smooth, delightful read that will make you think twice when you watch a music video or order a hot dog.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Francis Mastroiannni on February 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a winner. Witty, bare-knuckles honest, and heart-breakingly ironic, it is the story of a (self-imposed) down-on-his-luck flunky, Mortimer Coleridge, who does so many things miserably in his life yet is a master when it comes to making hot dogs. Go figure. His obsession with all things Gwen Stefani is a metaphor for life in this over-celebritized, media-hyped culture that we all fall victim to in one way or another, consciously or sub-consciously. Mandery has put together a book that speaks to all ages and is destined to become a cult sensation, or more likely, a mainstream hit once the buzz gets out!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SARA M on February 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Dreaming Of Gwen Stefani" exceeded all of my expectations. At first, I must admit, I wasn't too keen on reading it. But once you get started, it's hard to put it down. I especially like the way the author explores all the superficiality (if that's a word) that we tend to get so overly absorbed in. This book is not one to be judged by its cover and it really is a great book. It also doesn't hurt that it is pretty funny as well.
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