- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Virgin Books (March 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1905264178
- ISBN-13: 978-1905264179
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,683,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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À la Cart: The Secret Lives of Grocery Shoppers Hardcover – March 9, 2010
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Ever since she was a teenager, performance artist and author Carlip (Queen of the Oddballs: And Other True Stories from a Life Unaccording to Plan) has been collecting strangers' lost shopping lists and imaging the lives and people behind them. With the help of expertly applied makeup and outlandish costumes, Carlip has turned herself into the men and women that she imagined. From a wife-seeking, Fu Manchu–mustached redneck to an octogenarian stand-up comic, a washed-up lesbian rock star to a 20-something goth boy, Carlip takes inspiration from both the mundane—potatoes—and the disturbing—mousetraps, cheese, mouse. The 26 vivid photographic portraits and accompanying narratives display the author's humor, grace and a brilliantly creative eye. Carlip's alter egos are larger than life and twice as entertaining. Fans of Sloane Tanen's Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same should flock to this hilarious, delightful, unique achievement. (Mar.)
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Carlip, the self-described “queen of the oddballs” (from the title of her acclaimed memoir), draws on her love of story, passion for performance and transformation, eye for found art, and gift for comedic and empathic improvisation in a unique portrait gallery. A populist Cindy Sherman, an American Tracey Ullman, a female Eddie Murphy, and a disciple of Lily Tomlin, Carlip used her quirky collection of discarded shopping lists as inspiration for 26 characters, assuming the identity of men and women shoppers of various ages, backgrounds, and preoccupations. Carlip poses with great verve in brightly colored store aisles as Kim, a leathery biker momma grasping a bottle of Jack Daniels, her shopping list a tattered piece of red paper with “Jimmy Den” and “soda” crossed off and “Liqor” written assertively four times. Then there’s supermom June and her meticulously typed list for her Tourette’s-afflicted son’s birthday party; flannel-shirt-wearing, Fu Manchued Woody; tattooed punk pinup Heather; and lonely healthy-eater Fran. Each of Carlip’s ingeniously composed, funny, and insightful vignettes is a microcosm of struggle and hope. --Donna Seaman
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One reason she likes it so much is because we've always played what we call "airport people." When we wait for our flight, we take turns making up bios about the people waiting around us.
We also grab left over grocery store lists from the bottom of random carts. We've just never put the two together. But we will now.
Her favorites: Darcy, the punker who grew up listening to The Dead Kennedy's and wants to be a comic book author.
Derrick, who listed, Mouse Traps, cheese and mouse on his post it note. Ooh,,the goth guy.
My fave: Lloyd, hunched over in his motorized wheelchair, trying to adjust to wife Sylvia's death and Woody who wrote: Coors and oreos on the inside of box of matches. Love THAT!
The photographer, Barbara Green, does an amazing job with each shot. Woody made the front cover with his package of Oreos. .
It's a fun, lively book, great gift for,,anyone, even jaded teenagers like mine.
I just wonder what Carlip would create from MY grocery list this week: Beer, bagels, bread, bacon and brownie mix.
My to do list: Get the Oddball book next.
Using only an abandoned grocery store shopping list, some very short, some more elaborate, and some not even in English, Carlip transforms herself into the person (male or female) she imagines to own that list, expounding upon that person's backstory. This is a must-read for any budding fiction writer; her ability to create characters with the merest scrap of information is brilliant.
But she goes one giant step further and with the help of a makeup artist transforms her own face and body into people of varied ethnic and racial backgrounds, not to mention men, showing an attention to detail and a creativity that is unrivaled. If they didn't know in advance, I doubt most readers would be able to pick out that Carlip is the one being photographed in each and every shot. It's her ability to get into the heads of these characters, to take something universal--food--and turn it into something magically individual. This is so much more than a coffee table book. I've given it to friends and relatives who've delighted in its playfulness just as I have. I can't wait to see what Carlip cooks up next.
Totally memorable, totally fresh, totally funny!