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The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture Hardcover – July 7, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Nathan Rabin had the kind of childhood that aspiring memoirists dream of.” —TimeOut New York
“With his uncanny grasp of cultural zeitgeist, Rabin could unseat Chuck Klosterman as the slacker generation’s vital critical voice.” —Heeb Magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
Nathan Rabin may be a first-time author, but I know him well from reading his A.V. Club articles and the enormous discussion threads they spawn. His discursive, caustic, and quite funny writing style has a gift for transforming a long and pointless afternoon into something longer and just as pointless, only far more entertaining.
As a critic of today, Rabin's the kind of guy who can break anything down into popular entertainment references, so it almost makes sense that when he decided to tell the story of his life, he organized it into chapters referencing famous books, records, and films.
His stay as a boy in a mental institution? He's reminded of the book "Girl, Interrupted" - and careful to point out, not the later film adaptation.
Various relationships with girls are prompted with chapters spotlighting Rabin's takes on Rod Stewart and Jean-Luc Godard. Living in a hippie co-op in Madison, Wisconsin prompts a reference to "Freaks", the Tod Browning cult film. "My fellow co-opers were the stuff of Lou Reed songs," he explains.
Movies became for Rabin a channel of expression and a shelter from the storm: "Movies afforded the rewards of human interaction with none of the terrifying hazards of actual human contact," he writes. Real life has teeth, and Rabin often felt its bite.
I've seen this done before with songs alone, which do lend themselves to this kind of subjective treatment. Movies don't, and Rabin struggles to find the same connecting strands that come more easily from a song like "Maggie May". When Rabin uses "Apocalypse Now" as a basis for comparing a mildly domineering authority figure in Rabin's life to the terrifyingly unhinged Col.Read more ›
Nathan Rabin's The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture.
I should stop there, but I won't. I don't read a lot of autobiographies since they're usually stuffy "look at what an amazing person I turned out to be, one that you envy and now live vicariously through, since you just spent $30 to read about me" memoirs by people that I don't care about.
I don't care about Nathan Rabin, either -- actually, we're basically best friends now, just like Nathan and Topher Grace -- but this book made me laugh so hard a few times that I had to wipe tears from my cheeks. The guy's had an amazingly sad and entertaining life. He writes about it in a honest and humorously self-depreciating manner that makes it easy to relate to his life and his personal failures and accomplishments, but mostly his failures.
I enjoyed that he ties each chapter of his life (figuratively and literally) in with a song/album and/or a classic book or movie. Being the same age as the author, I found myself suddenly being sucked back to various parts of my youth and remembering exactly what it felt like to be alive when, for example, Nirvana was first blowing up and ending abruptly or watching MTV as NWA helped rap start to veer away from raps about gold chains and women to raps about guns, drugs, and women...and gold chains.
The honesty and bluntness of Nathan Rabin's autobiography impressed me incredibly.Read more ›
Having finished this book, I can safely say that now I know oodles about Nathan Rabin. Most importantly: that Rabin is a witty, engaging and highly amusing story-teller (and that he rarely agrees with the Oscars). From the first page, this book had me hooked. Weaving a story from Rabin's turbulent youth, through the triumphant bonding with his father over Chipotle coupons and landing firmly in an Ebert and Roeper audition, (all tied up a with pop-culture touchstone bow) I couldn't put it down.
This book is dark, sarcastic and incredibly, intelligently funny. It is safe to say that anyone who enjoys The Onion, grew up with Nirvana or simply likes their humor dark, whether you know Nathan Rabin or not, will love this book.
I find myself needing to explain in some coherent way my ambivalence. Mr. Rabin is intelligent, with a biting wit, and he tells of a complex and tragic childhood. I can only be glad he grew up to find success in a field and an arena that embraces his skills. Still, I don't know what this book is supposed to be.
I thought it as meant to be about how pop culture informs and bookmarks critical moments in our lives, but that aspect never takes center stage. It's there, but only slightly more so than you'd expect in any memoir. The chapters are introduced with references, there's a solid portion about how music was important to him while in a group home, but this was not to the level I would expect when told the book is "Brought to [me] By Pop Culture.(Ironically, I'll always associate this book with the day Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died.)This is clearly written by a guy who is interested in popular culture, but that takes a back seat to the memoir. The cultural references are what I'd anticipated being the common ground that made me feel a connection with Mr. Rabin.
The writer is well-known in certain circles, but he doesn't have the level of celebrity where the point of telling about his life is to illuminate the life of someone very famous. While his childhood is movingly discussed, there's nothing there that indicates shining light on the foster or mental health systems is his goal.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nathan Rabin is one of the people who, for better or worse, has helped shape the way I view pop culture. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Trevor Seigler
I was already familiar with Rabin, after reading his "Year of Flops," which I found thoroughly enjoyable. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Joseph Hirsch
Long and wandering, but there are some real pearls inside. And now I understand Kurt Cobain. Which I did not before.Published 13 months ago by Rebekah Amazon Rogers
I looked up this author because I liked what he wrote about a film I was interested in (Short Term 12). I am so glad I did. I've admired Mr. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
I found this book to be funny, intelligent, touching, well-written, and very entertaining. I highly recommend it. Read morePublished on December 2, 2010 by Kris
Nathan's roller coaster childhood is chronicled in a way that makes you care about someone you don't even know. Read morePublished on November 25, 2010 by Todd Franiuk
This is a great book. Nathan Rabin had a screwy childhood, and he was saved by pop culture. I know, it sounds like a cliche, but in this case, it's true. Read morePublished on November 13, 2010 by Phoebe60613
I'm not a regular Onion reader. Nor am I a follower of the A.V. Club. Nathan Rabin, therefore, is an unknown to me. He's the head editor of the A.V. Read morePublished on May 14, 2010 by missed
Its hard not to see "The Onion" on the book and not think humor right off the bat. However, a read on the back cover alerts you to the pitfalls of this memoir and the extensive... Read morePublished on May 6, 2010 by Meredith