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Shampoo Planet Paperback – May 1, 1993

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Shampoo Planet + Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture + Life After God
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This nicely balanced collection of 20 stories--most of them familiar--from the past 15 years was a Literary Guild selection in cloth.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Still a cultural pulse-taker, Coupland (Generation X, 1991) organizes his hip bromides and next-wave sententiousness into a rather humdrum narrative that's long on posturing, short on plot. Laughing at disaster, Coupland's post-post-baby-boomers rationalize the culture of constant change, self-reinvention, and immediate gratification. Tyler Johnson, the 20-year-old narrator whose ``memories begin with Ronald Reagan,'' is an apocalyptic entrepreneur, a hotel-motel studies major who believes wholeheartedly in a boundless future, one he hopes to see as an employee for a northwestern conglomerate presided over by his personal hero, the CEO author of Life at the Top. A smart and glib media savant, Tyler speaks ``telethon-ese'' with his girlfriend and dubs his room at home the ``modernarium.'' His mother, Jasmine, a hippie with armpit hair and a ``predilection for substance enthusiasts,'' represents everything that was wrong (in Tyler's view) about the Sixties. His grandparents, on the other hand, hoard their wealth and greedily pursue their pyramid sales scheme, marketing a cat food ``system.'' Meanwhile, Tyler's summer fling in Paris comes to haunt him. The haughty and selfish Stephanie, one of the ``low-ambition Euro-teens'' he met on vacation, convinces him to move to L.A. with her in pursuit of fame and riches. Their adventures on the road include a visit to the commune where Tyler was born and a nightmarish stay at his father's drug farm. In L.A., Tyler works a fast-food ``McJob,'' while Stephanie secretly finds a sugar-daddy. Chastened by his low-life in la-la-land, Tyler returns home, rewarded with a dream job and a happier family. This TV/computer/video-savvy fiction is a frank celebration of life as a series of theme parks. Coupland's social commentary is, at its worst, fortune-cookie profound and, at best, a gloss on the Zeitgeist. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (May 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671755064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671755065
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,098,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Allen on May 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
As I finished reading this book in the back of a warehouse -- one of the several McJobs I held down at the time -- I wept. Some may not be moved as I was, but not everybody has the same reference points that allow them to see parallels between Tyler's life and their own. Tyler's experience, I have to think, is similar to many in their mid-20s. It is a time when you decide what you're really going to do with your life, determine what is really important to you, move on and grow up if you have to. Sometimes you realign your goals to grow up. Sometimes you leave your girlfriend -- no matter how hard -- to grow up. Tyler's shift in hair care products symbolizes his... oh well read the book for that.
I liked Shampoo Planet. It wasn't Catcher In The Rye, but it was my World and I think many who are orbiting in that same lifestage will relate to it too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CreepyT on December 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Douglas Coupland definitely has an amazing way with words and a knowledge of the conundrum felt by those in their late teens and early twenties. Parents simply don't understand. How could they? They are from a different era. A simpler era. What do they know of the current zeitgeist? Such is the thought process of so many youngsters trying to find their place and discover their purpose in a world overwrought with technology and consumerism. Thus, such are the thought processes of Tyler and his odd array of peers in this amazing novel. Can Tyler and his mother find some way to work out their differences, and is there some lesson to be learned from a washed up hippie?

Shampoo Planet begins with Tyler's mother, Jasmine, waking up to find the word "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" written across her forehead. From this point forth, Jasmine and Tyler both set sail on a roller coaster ride of self-discovery, seeking to reclaim their self-worth from a new perspective. From the small, cozy town of Lancaster, Washington, in which many suffer from the closing of "the Plants," Tyler branches out seeking what else life has to offer. Using his ambition as his fuel, Tyler aims towards escape from the mundane.

We learn of Tyler's trip to Europe, during which he met an opportunistic French girl named Stephanie, and from whom he will learn to appreciate the past. Once Tyler returns home, we are introduced to his sister Daisy, who seems eager to escape the present by living vicariously with her boyfriend through her mother's days as a hippie. Tyler's now-ex-step-father, Dan, would rather create false realities than face his true existence. Tyler's grandparents have lost their money and are trying desperately to regain their societal stature by becoming involved in a pyramid scheme.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Douglas Coupland made his biggest mark on literature with "Generation X," a witty satire on the jaded "Gen-Xers." This time, we have one instead of several, but Coupland's writing might be even tighter because of that. Witty, unpredictable and full of Coupland's little flickers of bitterness and sweetness.

Things start to go awry when ex-hippie Jasmice wakes up with "divorce" written on her forehead. Ambitious twenty-year-old Tyler is a living anti-hippie, devoted to hair-care, sleek technology and big corporations. He considers Jasmine the living figure of sixties idiocy, but he consoles his mother about her rotten husband's departure.

As he comforts Jasmine, he contemplates his own life, his sweet girlfriend Anna Louise, and his oddball family, which was based in a weird hippie commune when he was little. Things in Tyler's life are disrupted when the haughty Stephanie, a summer fling, comes to visit -- and stay. Tyler travels with his fling-turned-new-girlfriend to California, but finds himself more alone than he has ever been before.

In this book, Coupland takes a look at a small group of people -- young, intelligent college graduates who aren't sure whether to follow their dreams, or chain themselves to a big corporation. Don't worry -- it's not half as boring as it sounds. Coupland keeps the book vibrant with snotty Europeans, scraggly ex-hippies and the offspring they drive crazy.

Theme aside, Coupland has a way of tugging at the heartstrings, without becoming really sentimental, and reminds us that "the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself." His writing is sharp, solid and strangely evocative of a split world: half sand candles and flowers, half leather furniture and big-screen TVs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
In "Generation X," Douglas Coupland took a pop culture pulse and gave new literature a transfusion it sorely needed. But like a terrific debut album by a promising band, trying to follow success can sometimes prove painful. Such is the case with "Shampoo Planet," which is almost a rehash of "X" without any of its charm or humor. The characters of "X" were whiny, but they weren't THIS whiny, nor this shallow. It's been several years since I read it, and I can't even tell you the plot. It was THAT pointless. Don't bother with this one. Just so you know I'm not a Coupland basher, I really like a couple of his works: definitely read "X" and "Life After God," which redeemed my faith in Coupland that "Planet" almost completely lost. When I finished reading it, I thought, "what the hell was THAT." That's usually not a good sign in fiction. His follow up to "Life After God," "Microserfs," left me with a similar feeling. Win some, lose some.
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