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Wigfield
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If you like Stephen Colbert's work on the Daily Show and Harvey Birdman, you'll love this audiobook. He does most of the narration. The writing is clever and the voices are great. This is one of the funniest audiobooks I've ever heard, and I've heard all of the David Sedaris books. I rent a fair number of audiobooks, and this is the first one that I wanted to purchase after I heard it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
An insane story, made up mainly of character sketches. The audio version is superior to the written format primarily due to the superior performances by the authors.

You do miss out in seeing photos of Stephen Colbert in drag, however, so you may want to skim through the hardcover version the next time you're at the book store.

If you're a fan of Tom Bodet or Garrison Keillor, you'll enjoy this spoof on their type of storytelling.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I bought the audio CD of this book to have something to pass the time on a 4-day solo moving adventure. I couldn't have asked for a better book to listen to while I drove through Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois! The wit and comedic timing is superb, and the book, while wonderfully written, couldn't have been read by a better team. They do innumerable voices for their characters and just the plain quick wit of the story caused me to laugh all the way down I-90.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is going to have to be a very mixed review. I found many parts of Wigfield hilarious, but on the other hand I was also disappointed in it. This is a book that I feel could have been much better. After all, there was no shortage of talent here -the three authors are all highly creative comedians. The book starts off very well. I laughed out loud at the first couple of chapters, and I had high hopes for the rest of the book. Then, about a quarter the way through, I became a little concerned, as the material was already starting to seem a bit thin. Yet, I can't say it tanked completely. There were still laughs in the remainder of the book, but they were really stretching the concept out. In a way, the authors were a little too much like Russell Hokes, the fictitious author of the narrative, who is desperately trying to reach his goal of writing 50,000 words, despite not having much to say.

Some reviewers have called Wigfield a satire on small town life. I don't think that is really accurate. It is really a satire about writing. The funniest part of the book, and I think the core of the novel, deals with the pretensions of an ordinary, not very intelligent or ethical guy who wants to make money as a writer without doing much research, thinking or even writing. In fact, the deliberately bad writing done by Russell Hokes is the cleverest part of the book. I think this actually went over the heads of some people who said the book is total garbage. If you take the time to absorb it, you can appreciate that it takes as much work, perhaps a bit more, to write as atrociously as Hokes as it does to write well. The book is chock full of absurdly hilarious descriptions, characterizations and metaphors. The introduction is also a very funny, rather cutting satire on the conceits of the literary world. Russell Hokes is the perfect bad writer for this piece of fake journalism. Unfortunately, the rest of the book does not live up to the promise of the introduction.

The problem is that the story itself is very limited in scope. Wigfield is not a real town, not even a real fake town. It is, rather, a kind of squatter's settlement. The running gag of the book is that the residents of Wigfield are only there because a dam is about to be destroyed, obliterating the "town," and, hopefully, allowing the residents to collect disaster relief. Much of the book consists of statements made by these faux citizens of Wigfield. Some of these statements are quite funny, but they soon become redundant. All of these characters basically fit the same mold -the redneck/trailer trash stereotype. Most of Wigfield's businesses are strip clubs, and virtually all the residents are uneducated, gun-toting, racist and more than half crazy.

Despite these limitations, Wigfield is still pretty funny. I only wish they had taken the promising character of Russell Hokes and given him a little more to work with. If, for example, Wigfield had been presented as a real small town, they could have gone a lot further with it. Many of the characters in Wigfield read like they were based on some low budget Hollywood movie about rednecks. There are many things about small town life that would make good satire, but Wigfield never gets beyond that single dimension. Colbert, Sedaris and Dinello actually did a good job in making the most out of this material, but they could have done a lot better.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I'm told that the humorist stylings of Steven Colbert, Amy Sedaris, et al are an acquired taste. I'm unable to judge, seeing as how I acquired the taste long ago, thanks to the brilliant "Daily Show" and "Strangers With Candy" shows these folks put together.
"Wigfield" concerns a broken-down town on the way to being an underwater park, thanks to the impending destruction of a nearby dam. This is simply the framework on which the authors hang their over-the-top caricatures, however.
If you enjoy deadpan delivery of the outrageous (think "Spinal Tap" or "Best In Show"), you'll dig "Wigfield."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This is undoubtedly the strangest book I've read in a long time.

I got Wigfield from the library because I love Stephen Colbert - his current show, of course, is amazing, but what I've seen of Strangers With Candy is perhaps even better. Naturally, a book written by the three talented people behind such a show sounded promising.

In addition to being funny in a I-really-shouldn't-be-laughing-at-stuff-like-this way, there's also brilliant wordplay and the like, which make it even more fun to read.

Not for the faint of heart, but definitely for those who enjoy somewhat reckless, completely politically incorrect (and I hate to use that phrase, because it's tossed about so much nowadays to refer to just about anything), and overall rather bizarre humor. Much like Strangers with Candy.

Great book.

It's kind of brilliant and terrible at the same time.

I'll have to read it again.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Wigfield represents the very best of quintessential small-town Americana. Built at the base of the pricey-but-worthless Bulkwaller Dam, Wigfield boasts sixteen gentlemen's clubs (including the premier T-- Time Show Palace, The Bacon Strip, The T--- Shop and The Muffeteria), several junkyards, a community theater with a troupe of semi-trained rabbits, and even its own local rag, The Wigfield Sporadic. Like many charming small towns, Wigfield is under attack; but the threat lies not in urbanization, suburban sprawl, factory farming or the like. Rather, that which shaped the proud town of Wigfield will soon be unleashed upon it if the government goons have their way. The Bulkwaller Dam is scheduled to come down - oh noes!

Luckily, journalist Russell Hokes is on the case. Sent by Hyperion Books to document the plight of America's dying small towns in 50,000 words or more (it's in the contract), Hokes arrives in Wigfield just in time! Between immersing himself in Wigfieldian culture and sidestepping his publisher, can Hokes prevent the flooding of Wigfield? Does anyone really care?

WIGFIELD: THE CAN-DO TOWN THAT JUST MAY NOT is a supersillious satire of small-town America. Admittedly, the comic stylings of Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello aren't for everyone, but I pity the fools. If you like Strangers With Candy, The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, then you'll love the saga of WIGFIELD.

In fact, reporter Russell Hokes of WIGFIELD is clearly the prequel to one Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA, of THE COLBERT REPORT fame. From his trusting of the gut to his scorn for books, Hokes is the vision of Dr. Colbert in his early days. Both characters are somewhat dim, self-centered, obtuse, lazy, selfish, racist/sexist/homophobic, upper-crust anti-intellectuals. Even the various skits featured in WIGFIELD resemble those used on THE COLBERT REPORT: at one point, Hokes interviews himself, a la "Formidable Opponent," while Hokes's chat with Representative Bill Farber plays like an installment of "Better Know a District." Throughout the book, you can imagine Stephen the pundit cutting his chops on the story of Wigfield in the visage of Hokes the journalist. Brilliant!

Much like Stephen Colbert's more recent I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU), WIGFIELD is clearly meant to be enjoyed as an audio recording. Colbert, Sedaris and Dinello give voice to all the characters themselves, at times crossing gender lines. Their collective range is just 360 degrees of awesome. Stephen as man-hating lesbian High Priestess Thea is simply priceless. WIGFIELD the book is hilarious as well, but the audio version will have you LOL!!!1!!!1-ing. If your library happens to have a copy of the print book, it's well worth a looksee, since there are a dozen or so photos of the comedians dressed up as their respective characters. Again, Stephen posing as a nearly-nekked Thea is - well, that alone is worth the price of the paperback. You'll want to blow that photo up and hang it above the fireplace, right next to the portrait(s) of Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA.

"America, bend over and relax, you're about to get a Truthoscopic examination."
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I don't see why so many people are down on this book, especially when people bought it because they're Stephen Colbert fans. It's a great book! If you read it too fast, however, you miss the subtle wordplay that makes it so funny. It helps to only read small sections at a time, or else you will start glancing past the humorous things without thinking. The best parts of the book are the extended metaphors, where the main character will compare his experiences to, say, that of a child drowning in a frozen lake; he'll continue the comparison for half a page while the link gets more and more absurd. Sometimes the book seems a bit thin, but the characters are just as shallow morally as they are textually. Check it out.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sharp, quick whit. If you like edgy comedy you will love this! For all the bad reviews, it must have just been over their heads.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is a tale which can appeal to many tastes, largely the taste of those who enjoy the authors. But there are three of them!
Fans of Colbert, Dinello, or Sedaris (and, by extension fans of the Daily Show) will enjoy this tale, perfectly expressed by its authors. Rich with wit, this story carries with it the feeling of a Daily Show special report, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sharply written and never losing its purpose, Wigfield asks many questions, and answers none.
Or does it? Perhaps we were never meant to know.
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