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Drew Friedman's Sideshow Freaks Hardcover – February 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Blast Books (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0922233365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0922233366
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 8.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Drew Friedman is a guilty pleasure!" — Matt Groening

"Drew Friedman has created the greatest sideshow lineup ever. His astounding portraits of the strange, the unusual, the bizarre, and the unconventionally beautiful truly capture the spirit of these extraordinary characters. This is a must-have book for anyone who is a fan of the joyously twisted world of the sideshow." — Todd Robbins, Purveyor of Amazement, coauthor, with Teller, of Play Dead

"Any book that contains six—count 'em, six!—pinheads is my kind of book. Drew Friedman’s trademarked propensity to make 'normal' people look a tad freakish with his forensic attention to every wrinkle, wart, and nose hair is turned on its head in this impressive collection. Here, the 'freaks' look back at us as if to say, 'So who’s normal?' Friedman’s uneasy affection for the 'weirdos' among us comes through in every lovingly drawn portrait." — Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy the Pinhead

"It’s true the sideshow is never what it seems, but Drew Friedman draws it like it really feels." — James Taylor, creator and publisher of SHOCKED AND AMAZED! magazine, founder of the museum at the Palace of Wonders

About the Author

Drew Friedman is the author of more than six books, including Old Jewish Comedians, More Old Jewish Comedians, The Fun Never Stops, and Private Lives of Public Figures. He is the recipient of the 2001 Reuben Award for newspaper illustration, and his portait of President Obama graced the cover of The New Yorker for Obama’s inauguration, January 2009.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paper Rules on January 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like Drew Friedman, I too experienced my first freak show at the tender age of 10. Every year the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros.circus would set up shop in the parking lot of the Commack Arena on LI and the entirety of Vets Highway would smell like elephant dung when the wind blew in from the south. In 1969, I took my well-earned dime to the freak show and bought a postcard from the smallest woman in the world. After that I was hooked. I read the National Enquirer and the Weekly World News like a fiend, always on the lookout for the latest news about Lobster Boy or hoping for a new set of siamese twins to obsess over.

When I finally saw the movie "Freaks" during a midnight showing in Syracuse (de rigueur viewing for anyone attending college in the 70s), I knew there was a reason why I loved these "freaks" so much - they were more human and real than any "normal" person I met in suburbia.

These people were who they were, with no apologies. No covering up or hiding "inperfections." They were perfect as they were, or perhaps even more perfect because of their refusal to deny who they were.

Drew's latest book is a loving tribute to these imperfectly perfect people. His attention to the slightest detail is what I've always loved about his work. But it's also his ability to bring these people to life and the obvious love he has for his subjects that gives the book its heart. This is not a book that you will look at once and then place on the coffee table, only to move it when you dust (or in my case, IF I dust.) You'll be reaching for this book with your little flipper arms time and time again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Burd on January 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A new book from Drew Friedman is always a treat and Drew Friedman's Sideshow Freaks (name above the title, impressive!) does not disappoint. In his previous volumes of Old Jewish Comedians, Drew drew loving portraits of funny folks in his trademark warts-and-all style. In the case of sideshow freaks, everything else has been left out. This time it's just the warts.

Obviously, there's no need for caricature or exaggeration when depicting human oddities; these people are ugly enough just as they are. But that's where Friedman weaves his magic. There's no sense of that "step right up and see the Jo-Jo the dog-faced boy!" sensationalism. In fact, it's the reverse. These are exceptionally respectful portraits of unusual people, not meant to mock or degrade them. Yet, Drew doesn't put them on a pedestal either. Here they are, as they were. Interesting to look at, carefully and accurately rendered. Bizarre, yes. But still very human.

The artwork is wonderful. No surprise there. The most fascinating thing to me is the tone of the book. Here are the freaks, take 'em or leave 'em. Even the text that accompanies each painting (co-written by K. Bidus) has this matter-of-fact attitude. It lists the person's real name along with his or her stage name (tent name?) and some basic facts about place of birth and description of the particular freak's skill or deformity. It reads like a directory of dentists. "Dr. Feldstein received his degree in orthodontia in 1946 and was well known for his excellent bridgework." (This charming approach is picked up by Penn Jillette in his entertaining and funny introduction.) It's the absolute absence of shock value that makes the book so delightful and refreshing.

As usual, highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always loved Drew Friedman's work, and this is a presentation of illustrations with the true history of the freaks he illustrates.
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