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At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life Paperback – June 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307451917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307451910
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having escaped the idiocy of rural life in his growing-up-gay-in-the-Ozarks memoir America's Boy, the author returns to it in this flamboyant fish-out-of-water saga. Inspired by Thoreau, Rouse and his partner moved to a cottage near the Michigan resort town of Saugatuck in order to simplify; wean himself from his addictions to shopping, tanning and cable; and resolve childhood traumas by being brashly gay in a nonurban setting. Saugatuck is actually quite gay-friendly, but trials abound: the eerie quiet of the countryside, the apocalyptic snows, a marauding raccoon fended off with lip balm and breath spray, the scarcity of gourmet yuppie-chow, the humiliation of wearing waders instead of Kenneth Cole boots, the slow, unfashionable locals who ask, rather perceptively, 'Don't you ever take anything seriously... things that don't affect only you?' Rouse's battle with his own narcissism is a losing one; indeed, it feels like the real point of offering his pink-outfitted self to the suspicious gazes of hunters and other yokels is simply to accentuate what a fascinating spectacle he is. Alas, Rouse's comically campy, but rarely truly funny, writing is so trite that few readers will share his self-involvement. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

As he turns 40, Rouse (Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler, 2007) admits to becoming “the ultimate cliché”: he’s mentally and physically exhausted, hates his job, and realizes there is a void in his life that the city is no longer filling. He and his partner, Gary, take a vacation in Saugatuck, Michigan, “a Midwestern Martha’s Vineyard,” and on the spot decide to sell their home in St. Louis and move to the woods. Rouse vows to become a “modern-day Thoreau” and sets out to follow 10 life goals, roughly along the tenets espoused by Thoreau in Walden, Rouse’s favorite book. Rouse chronicles the hilarious escapades of these “two neurotic urbanites” as they ensconce themselves in the woods without magazine subscriptions, malls, Trader Joe’s, HGTV, or lattes. Rouse feels like a Martian confronting the locals at the general store, and suffers extreme anxiety when attempting ice fishing and karaoke. Gay or straight, any reader who has tried to “fit in” somewhere outside his or her comfort zone will readily empathize with Rouse’s rousing and ultimately successful lifestyle change. --Deborah Donovan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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More About the Author

Wade Rouse
Author Bio

Wade Rouse is the "laugh-out-loud-funny" (NBC's Today Show), "wise, witty, wicked" (USA Today), "engagingly funny memoirist" (Chicago Tribune) who is a "hybrid of "David Sedaris and Dave Barry" (Library Journal) and "Erma Bombeck's lovechild" (Advocate). Rouse "beautifully combines humor and pathos" (Out Magazine), and has quickly established himself as "an original writer and impressive new voice" (The Washington Post) whose "combination of honest emotion and evocative prose is destined to be a hit!" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). In short, Wade Rouse is "hilarious, riotously funny, catty, and an absolute delight!" (Christian Science Monitor)

Wade Rouse is the author of four, critically-acclaimed memoirs, including America's Boy (Dutton/2006), Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler (Harmony/2007), and the bestsellers, At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life (Harmony/2009), and It's All Relative: A Memoir of Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine (Crown/2011). He is also the creator and editor of the upcoming, humorous dog anthology, I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales about Man's Best Friends by America's Favorite Humorists (NAL/2011), which features a foreword by Chelsea Handler and her dog, Chunk.

The IndieBound bestselling It's All Relative: A Memoir of Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine asks and attempts to answer the question, "How come the only thing my family tree grows is nuts?", in blisteringly funny detail. The book deals with America's obsession with picture-perfect holidays and celebrates Rouse's imperfect family--a chatty yet loving mother, an eccentric engineer of a father, a marvelously Martha Stewart-esque partner, a garage-sale obsessed set of in-laws, and an oddball collection of relatives--through the yearly celebrations that bring out the very best in our nearest and dearest. Rouse paints a funny, sad, poignant, and outlandish portrait of an all too typical family that will have you appreciating or bemoaning your own. "It's rare to find a book that is both funny and mean, family-intensive and gay-friendly, gossipy and sweet. It's All Relative is all of the above!" Minneapolis Star-Tribune

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream chronicles the misadventures of two neurotic urbanites who quit their jobs, and leave the city, cable, couture and consumerism behind in order to move to the Michigan woods and recreate a modern-day Walden. At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream was a national bestseller, 2009 Best Book of the Year by B&N, and named a Must-Read by NBC's Today Show, Detroit Free-Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Petersburg Times, Out, MetroSource Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Public Radio, Michigan Public Radio, St. Louis Magazine, Frontiers Magazine, among others.

Rouse's first memoir, America's Boy, which chronicles his life growing up gay in the Ozarks thanks to the unconditional love from an unconventional family, was named by Border's as a Best Book (Literary Memoir) of 2006, "A Best Book of 2006" by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. a 2006 BookSense selection by the nation's independent booksellers, an inaugural "Rainbow" pick for GLBT young readers by the American Library Association, and a PFLAG "Required Read". The American Library Association recently named it as one of the top 100 GLBT books.

His second memoir, Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler, about his tenure as PR director at an elite prep school where he quickly learns his "real job" is to cater to a Lilly Pulitzer-clad clique of "Mean Mommies," was selected by both Barnes & Noble and Target as a Breakout Bestseller, and hailed as "funny" by Entertainment Weekly. The memoir is about job discrimination and the incredible pressures facing faculty, students and parents today.

I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship features essays by some of America's favorite funny writers and comics, including Chelsea Handler, Jen Lancaster, Laurie Notaro, Bruce Cameron, Jane Green, Stephanie Klein, Beth Harbison, Alec Mapa, Jeff Marx (Tony winning creator of Avenue Q), Rita Mae Brown, Jill Conner Browne and many others. A portion of the book's proceeds will benefit The Humane Society of the United States.

Rouse was a contributor to the humorous anthology on working in retail, The Customer Is Always Wrong: The Retail Chronicles (Counterpoint-Soft Skull Press). Rouse's essay on working at Sears after years of wearing Husky's was selected to kick off the collection.

Rouse is a contributing humor columnist for Metrosource magazine, and, and a regular contributor to Michigan Public Radio. His essays and articles have appeared in numerous national magazines and online publications, including, which reaches nearly 10 million readers, as well as on CBC Radio One's popular "Definitely Not the Opera" in Canada and Chicago Public Radio. He has lectured and taught writing seminars around the country, from The Chicago Public Library to the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Workshop. Rouse is represented by the Random House Speakers Bureau - alongside such luminaries as Ken Burns, Jay McInerney, Richard Russo, Jane Smiley, Gay Talese, Roy Blount Jr., and Lisa See - and is available for select readings and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please visit or call 212-572-2013.

Rouse's personalized, intense and transformational writing retreats - which center on overcoming fears in one's life and one's writing - and provide insider advice on securing a literary agent and finding success as a fulltime author, have been credited by numerous writers for helping their manuscripts be published by mainstream publishers. For more, please visit

He earned his B.A. in communications (with honors) from Drury College (now University) and his master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Rouse lives on the coast of Michigan, where - in between beach weather and blizzards - he writes memoirs and battles for bed space with his partner, Gary, and their beloved mutt, Mabel. Wade is a volunteer and fundraiser for Wishbone-Paws For A Cause, an animal shelter in Michigan, a member of HRC, and supporter of Hospice. He is a marathon runner, avid reader and movie/theatre buff, and addicted to fashion, hair, lip shimmer, reality TV and non-fat, triple shot white chocolate lattes.
Wade is represented by literary agent Wendy Sherman of Wendy Sherman Associates in Manhattan, and the Random House Speakers' Bureau.
For more, please visit (writing retreats & classes)

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Customer Reviews

It is funny, touching, and inspiring.
Wade Rouse's remarkable book about his choice to abandon city life and move to the Michigan woods is, in turn, hysterically funny, surprising and deeply moving.
Mary M. Mansour
I have read all of his books and anxiously await the next one.
D. Matula

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When was the last time you read a memoir that begins with an angry raccoon perched on the author's head? That's the opening scene of Wade Rouse's new book and one of many, both hilarious and wise, that make this a memorable story about living your dreams and in the process discovering a new life.

Despite the inspiration supplied by his grandmother's passion for Henry David Thoreau's WALDEN, Wade Rouse is an unlikely heir to the mantle of that nature-loving philosopher. Although he grew up in the Ozarks, the flamboyantly gay Rouse confesses that he had transformed himself "from a country rube into a sophisticated city boy, a Starbucks-swilling, pashmina-wearing, catch-a-Parker-Posey-independent-movie kind of guy." Frustrated in his day job as a public relations director at a St. Louis prep school, he yearns to become a full-time writer. So in 2005, he persuades his salesman partner Gary to abandon urban life for a small house they christen "Turkey Run" on three and one-half acres of land just outside the small town of Saugatuck, Michigan, a resort town and burgeoning artist community about a mile from Lake Michigan. Wade and Gary soon discover the chasm that separates life in the tourist season and the reality of a Michigan winter, and the fun begins.

Before embarking on his adventure, Rouse grabs a pile of coffeehouse napkins and compiles a list of "new life goals, one per napkin, that would match the tenets and principles that Thoreau set forth in WALDEN." The book's succeeding chapters end with a scorecard in which he judges his success by assigning a point to "Wade's Walden" or "Modern Society.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Franklin the Mouse on February 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The world is made up of high-maintenance and low-maintenance people. Mr. Rouse and his partner, Gary, are without question high-maintenance. Speaking as a heterosexual male, happily married for almost thirty years and raising two sons in rural Maine, I can honestly say these flamboyantly, artsy, cynical, shopaholic urbanites live on a completely different planet than I do. Mr. Rouse's idea of "roughing it" is denying themselves malls, trendy hangouts, designer foods, cable and celebrity magazines. Moving from St. Louis to Saugatuck-Douglas, Michigan isn't imitating Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond lifestyle by a long shot.

However, I laughed a lot reading this book, but so frequently had to google references to people, places and things he used as punchlines that I'm surprised I didn't develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The guy is waaaaaay too involved in celebrity/fashion culture for my tastes. Mr. Rouse is extremely whiney and I'm hard pressed to believe some of the stuff between these pages actually happened. It's difficult to fathom him being this clueless. The memoir is a cynical, selfdeprecating journey of self-discovery that reenforces an unappealing gay stereotype of effeminate, sarcastic helplessness. Don't get me wrong. It's a very funny a book but this baby made me squirm often over its outrageous flamboyancy. Also, the author can't seem to go more than ten pages without mentioning some guy's looks or pork sword. We get it. You're gay. Enough already. If you are looking for a lighthearted read, you may enjoy Mr. Rouse's memoir. I'm just glad it wasn't any longer because I had had my fill of all his whining.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jenkins on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Side-splitting, hilarious, yet heartfelt and poignant "misadventures" of a man who hits 40 with a resounding thud and resolves to uproot his life, quit his job and leave the city, cable, culture and consumerism behind in order to move to a knotty-pine cottage in the middle of the Michigan woods to recreate a modern-day Walden. The memoir chronicles ultimate urbanite Wade and his partner, Gary, as they embrace 10 Life Lessons -- sort of a City/Country Smackdown -- based on trying to achieve a simpler life but also rooted in the tenets of Walden (think "Eschew Fashion and Entertainment for Simpler Pursuits," such as living w/o cable and magazines, a nearly impossible task for a man who considers Kenneth Cole to be on par with Gandhi for his contributions to the world, and Kathy Griffin to be his spiritual leader; think "live off the land," although his fave foods are Kashi and Morningstar Burgers; think "embrace your neighbors," though many seem to have night-vision goggles; think "embrace the Pixar-cute country critters, though Wade is attacked by a raccoon.) Yes, Wade buys waders, Wade ice-fishes, and survives blizzards and country stores and country karaoke with two tipsy trollops, but he also rediscovers -- as Thoreau did -- his spirituality, as well as happiness and a home in the last place he thought he'd ever find those things. I laughed out loud on nearly every page, but also was challenged to think about where I wanted my life to head in these tough times. Book is about taking risks, embracing life, getting lost in the woods, and finding yourself in the most unexpected of places. Wade reminds me of a gay Erma Bombeck, and I highly recommend this book as a must summer-read.
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