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Showing 1-10 of 150 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 188 reviews
on July 28, 2014
When it comes to advice on sex, marriage, monogamy, and politics, Dan Savage approaches each subject with equal parts vigor and venom. American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics is a caustic series of essays Savage uses to assault perceptions and throw a light on mundane gay life. One could call the essays biting commentary but that would be a misnomer. Biting involves a catch-and-release type of activity. Savage chews on his subjects, savoring every opportunity for salacious commentary.
For over two decades Dan Savage has written the Savage Love advice column. Fans of the column will be right at home reading American Savage, which has the column’s confrontational, confessional style running through each essay. Savage delights in dirty talk, flinging around foul language like a cross between a Teamster and your gay uncle who doesn’t give a damn if the breeders don’t like him. Savage is prone to repeating himself, which does make some of the essays in the middle of the book tedious to read.
Savage’s bread and butter topics are sex and relationships. He offers his views on sex education (less focus on reproduction, more focus on pleasure and relationships), monogamy (good for some but not enough for others), and sexual politics in relationships (we should be “good, giving, and game”). Each essay also takes pot shots at conservative talking heads who have the ultimate sin in Savage’s eyes: hypocrisy. From Maggie Gallagher to Brian Brown to Mike Huckabee, Savage zeroes in and lets loose with didactic diatribes, while citing research study after research study to back up his claims. There’s a brutal honesty to Savage’s words (such as when he talks about his monogamish relationship with his husband of 20 years Terry) and more than a little playfulness (such as repeatedly stating how good Terry looks in leather).
One of my favorite chapters is “My Son Comes Out”, where Savage discusses the awkwardness his adopted son DJ had about disclosing he was straight to his gay parents. Savage confronts the dual ideas of gay couples making horrible parents and the concept that gay parents will produce gay children. Other chapters I found most touching (despite having not experienced them) were those where Savage discusses his mother, especially their relationship after he came out as gay and how he dealt with her death. Due to my close relationship with my own mother, the pain of Savage’s loss hit me particularly hard.
If you prefer your prose with sardonic wit and filthy asides, American Savage is the book for you. It’s not a book for the easily offended. There’s a clarity to Savage’s essays (repetitive though it may be at times) that is refreshing. His literary voice is one that demands to be heard (for better or worse). Savage is a raconteur, a firebrand, and possesses an acerbic with, all of which makes for interesting, thought-provoking reading.
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on June 16, 2014
I'm a big Savage fan- been reading his column and downloading his podcast for years, and have read his other books. This new book is a collection of essays details his major philosophies, achievements, campaigns, and political views. If you listen to Dan's podcast "rants" (his term), you will be familiar with most of these things already, and even many of the specific anecdotes, examples, and metaphors. Monogamish, GGG, santorum, Halloween, bisexuality, religious hypocrisy, homophobe closet cases- serious fans could probably write these ourselves.

This book would be terrific for bringing an interested newbie up to speed. I'd give it to new romantic partners as a manifesto. It's classic, high-quality Savage- insightful, subversive, funny, and moving.

In my case, since I am a Savage completist, I don't mind the repetition. I want to buy his book and support him, and I find him compelling and entertaining enough to enjoy reading his thoughts even if they are mostly familiar. There's also some new material sprinkled in, like the description of his dinner and debate with Brian Brown, and the connection of his mother's death to his thoughts on end-of-life issues, and discussions of Obamacare and gun control.
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on August 6, 2013
As soon as I read his opening sentence in the section about sex education, paraphrased: "Imagine a driver's ed class where they don't teach you about steering, braking, those red octagons at intersections - but just focus on the miracle of internal combustion..." I was hooked. Not only did I read that part aloud to my own three tween/teen sons, but I wish it were required reading for all parents and school districts everywhere.

Dan Savage is a witty writer and an amusing fellow, and I've read every column of his since he started out (1997?) and all of his books. This one is my favorite so far, simply because it is really well-edited and gets to the point on a lot of very important issues.

I'm a straight, married, middle-aged woman, and I feel that Dan Savage speaks to my heart when he talks about the sanctity and importance of love and marriage and family. What he says makes intuitive sense, and is grounded in such a position of civil rights and ethics, that it reassures me to have his voice out there. I'm also very relieved that kids have him as a resource in this crazy world.

I'm glad I bought this in hardcover, instead of waiting for paperback! It was well worth it.
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on December 23, 2013
I am a fan of Dan Savage's column and other books, so I really enjoyed this one. The chapter about his mother's death was very touching. Most of the topics in this book were covered at least partially in The Stranger Newspaper, so there weren't a lot of surprises for this reader. However I really like Dan's style so I found it worth the price. If you've read other works by Dan, or seen him on TV, you already know if you'll like or hate this book.
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on June 12, 2013
Dan Savage has been a crucial cog in the movement towards equality for the gay/lesbian/transgender/non-heterosexual-vanilla-missionary-unadventurous community. He seems to make enemies easily, but as far as I can tell, the people who hate him have probably never read anything of his. If you actively dislike Dan Savage and everything he stands for, if you feel that the one-man-one-woman model of marriage and relationships is the only way to go, if you feel the marriage equality movement is going to bring about The Destruction Of America, I dare you to read this book, read it with an open mind, listen to what he's saying, and then tell me that he's wrong. The only catch is, and I cannot stress this enough, you have to keep an open mind, and you have to LISTEN.

I found this book to be beautifully written, at times funny, at times poignant, and it even once made me cry. If you're a fan of Dan Savage, you won't be disappointed. If you're not...read it anyway.
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on January 21, 2014
I laughed so hard, my face still hurts... Dan Savage has a fresh and funny perspective on the values that liberal/ sane people hold dear while providing you ammo for the next time you get drawn into a political debate. I honestly thought most of this book would just be "preaching to the choir" material for me since I'm already a liberal and huge fan of his podcast, but he frames the debate of key sexual and political issues so well in this book that I felt I learned a lot while also being entertained to the point of laughing out-loud. This was an absolute joy to read and I can't recommend it enough to anyone looking for a funny, insightful and informative primer on a lot of the cultural and political issues facing the world today.
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on July 31, 2016
Dan Savage once again opened my eyes to many misconceptions that still surround LGBT individuals and I want to apologize on behalf of all Christians for the mistreatment and bigotry. This book is a must read!
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on August 26, 2017
Insightful. Smart. Researched. Compassionate. Poignant. Dan gives us a window onto the culture of today so that we may understand the impact we are making tomorrow. Lets create a better more understanding future.
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on August 15, 2013
I love Dan Savage and have been reading his column for years. This book would be a terrific introduction for people who are new to his ideas, but is less interesting for people who already familiar with his work because it seems to rehash a lot of what I've already read or heard from him.
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on December 17, 2013
Dan Savage is an institution, a culture changer, a lovely human being. It is a privilege to read his book - or listen to it, as I have been doing. He has a lot to say about societal forces that shape public opinion and does so in his usual interesting, creative, and down to earth manner. If you listen to his podcasts, you will already be familiar with some of the points he makes, but it is worth paying attention to what he has to say in this book that ties it all together.
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