96 of 99 people found the following review helpful
Davy Rothbart and the gang at "Found" magazine have turned out a truly original gem. The concept is simple: people find things that they were not intended to find, and send it in to Davy, who sorts the wheat from the chaff and comes up with a pithy book of insight on the American psyche. Some of the things that have been found are unreal. I am particularly fond of the love letters and notes left on double parked cars. Others are simply too bizarre to try to contextualize, such as notes reading "Warning: The iguana is loose on the porch...", and "If the ball is too loud take it up when you sleep and put it back down when you get up", for instance. But my all time favorites are the lost pet flyers. Now I love animals, and I think it is a real tragedy when someone loses a pet, but these flyers made me laugh so hard I almost fell off my chair (you really need to see them for the full effect): "Loss Cat: Speckles, Does not call when come, Dirty, Not tag, Reward needs medicines. Foam. Call Ward." Best of all is "Lost Cobra Color: brown, black, yellow, red (on teeth), blue (color of tongue) Snake has been known to bite off heads. Snake is not house trained. Answers to "Psycho". Length: 7' Weight: 45 lbs Warning, snake is deadly. Will bite if provoked. Psycho has a strong scottish accent." As hard as I try, I could never make up something that funny.
Some of the things are genuinely touching, and some are quite old. A few are from outside the US, but largely this is a peek into the collective subconscious of America. This book is a national treasure.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2004
I laughed and cried my way through this book, couldn't put it down. It mixes the ludicrous, the joyful and the heartbreaking, offering a clear view into human nature. I see myself and those around me on every page, but with a loving heart fostered by Davy's sense of humor. I find myself wanting to know these people, actually seeing I DO know them, for they are me!
What I love most is that Davy had the wisdom to take these scraps we all see as trash and recognize them as rich compost, ready to be reborn into a fascinating source of wisdom, to delight us, surprise us, and to foster our ability to laugh at ourselves and our world. They show us at our best, worst and most vulnerable, show all our loves and fears. The book is a true teacher of compassion!
While Davy says there's no special order, the book fit together perfectly for me, leading me from one insight to another, one laugh to another. The layout that looks like a collection of scraps is perfect for the contents.
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2004
Rothbart has taken a brilliant idea and executed it to a tee. I first heard of this book through [...] The randomness and unintentional comedy carries tremendous appeal.
The author, with the help of a volunteer army of trash hunters, find the treasure of others' trash. My personal favorite was a sign that said simply "Steve" with a bunch of vertical tearaway "Steve"s on the bottom. (Done in the style of a laundrymat ad.) Others have found evidence of epic battles, heartwrenching breakups and untold mysteries. The greatest outcome -- you begin to wonder who these people are, what context the note was in, and how their various conflicts have since resolved. The imagination runs wild with the possibilities. In that way, the book almost functions as one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, with you the reader filling in the empty spaces.
A great "find," pun definitely intended.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2005
This is a fun book adapted from a high-concept interactive website that you "explore" more than read. It is hysterical, moving, and sometimes a bit terrifying as you pour over a relic of someone's rage.
It can be graphic as some are complaining below, but I am not sure what they expected -- perhaps they should have thought to visit the website in advance of their purchase. I just reviewed another great interactive-internet collection, Not Proud: A Smorgasbord of Shame, and am starting to feel like I should have made the same suggestion there, since it was even more raunchy and freaky...
Anyway, you just have to step out in the world and see the same obscenities scattered on shreds of paper and scrawled on walls -- at least in Found it is given a concept and a context.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2004
I keep this on my coffee table. Everyone who comes by my place picks it up, leafs through for a minute or two, then sits down and starts reading. And then we're always late, as I try to get them to put the book down and they read "just one more." Not that I blame them. Each page is more than a collage of worn notes or ripped photographs - they are untold stories, mysteries that will never be resolved. Did the lovers reconcile? Was the note discarded in anger by the recipent or was it never sent at all? Did Mario ever clear his muddied name? Now I walk with my eyes cast downward, looking for a crumpled bit of paper that could be ordinary trash, but just might be something worth finding.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2004
This book, I can barely explain how powerful it is.
These little found articles are perfect fragments of thrown-away life. It's weird and often hysterical and sometimes very, very sad.
I often wonder about the authors of some of the notes. Why they weren't saved- Did the reciever of this letter throw it out? Was it a draft thrown out by whoever wrote it? Some of the broken lives, I hope that they've been mended.
Some of the pieces are so emotional and give such an image of such a moment. They're terrific. They pull me out of my world and into the world of countless strangers.
I love it. This is a terrific collection.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2005
"Found" is one of those weird books that people will either find oddly appealing or just too strange to bother with. The mere concept of putting together a mismash of found notes, letters, cards, lists etc,means that there will be some duds amonst them, but there are also many that are hilarious, terrifying, touching, profane and downright bizarre. It's one of the oddest cross-sections of the modern human experience you are likely to find. Some of my favorites were "Give me one too/July 19th (for it's eerie premonition of possible things to come.) All the notes left on improperly parked cars for the sheer hilarity brought on by major frustration(we have all wanted to leave these on a car at one time or another)And by far the best of the bunch "Aaron's Algebra Test"(where ever Aaron is now, lets hope he's putting that imagination to good use!) Yes, there is plenty of foul language and sexually explicit content here so it's not a choice for your twelve year old. It is however a highly entertaining way to spend a few hours.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2004
Davy Rothbart has created a wonderful thing with "Found." It's not just a magazine. It's a philosophy. His magazine and this equally amazing book is about seeing the beauty behind all things. Each of the notes and photographs have a story behind them. You resurrect the note when you pick it up off the sidewalk. You find value in a forgotten photo. One of my favorite notes is a conversation of a couple of teenage girls -- passing notes in class and fighting over a borrowed pen. The language is angry, but you can't tell how serious they are. But - it seems from the ending that some feelings have been hurt. The more aggressive of the two has gone too far when she taunts the other about having sex on a dryer and having to go to summer school. A community has formed around "Found" - hundreds of people who look twice at a scrap of paper on the sidewalk. Some of these treasures will make you cry, some will make you laugh. This colletion is enriching and fascinating.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2006
This is a fascinating, infinitely layered, bottomless, and genuinely human book.
After reading it straight through after buying it, I left it in my bathroom for months, and was amazed at how much I continued to find in it that I had missed the first time--the drawings that could be turned upside down to be something else, the hidden innuendoes in crumpled notes, the crushing sadness in seemingly funny letters, the humor in painfully sad confessions, the notes in codes that have to be broken, and the tiny clues in the backgrounds of photos.
This book is like scripture.
In the same way a theologian can go over the Bible until he sees a truth he felt was previously hidden to him, anyone can go over any found note in this book and find additional humanity, insights, and truth.
The book is a random collection to be sure, and "Found" magazine has many finds that are better than or as good as the ones in here, but still this book somehow seems to present a portrait of all of America, of the whole world, of a place of real sadness and hopes and humor, of secrets and fears and dreams.
At times it's hilarious, as in the drawing of a missing rabbit on a lost pet poster with unmatching leg lengths, or the crude advertisement for "a mother type." But often it's heartbreaking, as in the boy's letter to his absent father, or the note reading, "Dear Dad I Love you so much just so you no I cry for you evry night. I love you so much dad."
I recommend "Found" to everyone. It will make you see the world differently. It's transformative. A street strewn with litter will become a place to glimpse a peek of people's lives. The people around you will seem more interesting. And they will be. And they are.
"Found" can prove it to you.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2008
This book would be great if it simply presented the finds and allowed the viewer to think for himself. The black and white xerox copy format looks like a cheap pamphlet, and it is not enticing at all. It really annoys me that after reading an intriguing, beautiful note in the book, the author feels the need to ruin it with extraneous captions and silly drawings. I feel a little insulted that the author includes so much information with each note. It ruins the fun and the mystery of the entire idea. Overall, if you can get past the horrible black and white layout and the obnoxious side comments and stupid illustrations, this book is pretty original!
I would recommend it if you have extra money to spend. It is fun to look at, but not one of my prized pieces in my book collection. It is fun to flip through once in a while.