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Digging Up Mother: A Love Story Hardcover – May 10, 2016

4.9 out of 5 stars 239 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Doug Stanhope and Digging Up Mother

"Doug Stanhope has been one of the best comics in the world for a very long time, and he only gets better with time. The fact that he is not hugely famous is a choice entirely his own and a gift he gives to the fans who are able to find him in the shadows of the real world. I've only ever heard people say two things about Doug: 1) 'He's the fucking greatest!' 2) 'I don't know who that is.' I'm never going to read this book because I am too self-absorbed. But if you have room in your heart, pour Doug in and it will delightfully blacken. This fucking dude is funny and thoughtful and generously careless, and I love watching him. Good guy, too."—Louis C.K.

"Dear Jews who run show business: Please give Doug Stanhope a primetime show."—Sarah Silverman

"Doug might be the most important stand-up working today."—Ricky Gervais

"[Doug Stanhope's comedy is] an acidic blend of prickly hostility, elaborately articulated self-loathing, and righteous anger."New York Times

"If there's such a thing as being too honest in comedy, Doug Stanhope may come close.... Stanhope has elevated himself to become one of today's most talked-about artists."Timeout Chicago

"Much of what's wrong with the world melts away in Stanhope's flame.... Comedy with brains and guts and a heart."The Guardian

"[Doug Stanhope is a] visionary douchebag."The Times (London)

Kirkus Reviews, 4/1/16
“Lively and smart, and, in the manner of the best comedy, as sad as it is funny.”

Red Carpet Crash, 5/4/16
“An incredibly awesome book.”

Boston Globe, 5/12/16
“The book is just as candid, wickedly funny and bound to offend as his stage act.”

Splitsider, 6/2/16
Digging Up Mother is as heartbreaking as it is hilarious, as fun as it is funny, and as personal as it is relatable. It’s a testament to [Doug’s] skills as a writer, a storyteller, and a comedian. It’s a testament to his love for his mother.”

The Arts Fuse, 6/15/16
“A disarmingly funny, unexpectedly sweet memoir.”

Los Angeles Times, 7/14/16
“An honest…exploration of what it means to love despite flaws and failings, through pain and discomfort.”

From the Inside Flap

Doug Stanhope is one of the most critically acclaimed and stridently unrepentant comedians of his generation. What will surprise some is that he owes so much of his dark and sometimes uncomfortably honest sense of humor to his mother, Bonnie. It was the cartoons in HER Hustler magazine issues that molded the beginnings of his comedic journey, long before he was old enough to know what to do with the actual pornography. It was Bonnie who recited Monty Python sketches with him, who introduced him to Richard Pryor at nine years old, and who rescued him from a psychologist when he brought that brand of humor to school. And it was Bonnie who took him along to all of her AA meetings where Doug undoubtedly found inspiration for his own story-telling. Bonnie's own journey from bar-tending to truck driving, massage therapy, elder abuse, and stand-up comedy and acting never stopped her from being Doug's genuine number one fan. So when Bonnie's alcoholic, hoarding life finally came to an end, so many weird adventures later in rural Arizona, it was inevitable that Doug and Bonnie would be together for one last journey. Digging Up Mother follows Doug's absurd, chaotic, and often obscene life as it intersects with that of his best friend, biggest fan, and love of his lifehis mother Bonnie. And it all starts with her deathone of the most memorable and amazing farewells you will ever read.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (May 10, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306824396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306824395
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The fact that Mr Depp has kept his near thirty year homosexual relationship with his 'soulmate' Douglas Gene Stanhope a secret from the tabloid press is nothing short of a miracle. This co-written account of their turbulent affair finally lifts the lid on Johnny's true sexuality and confirms that his multiple female companions over the years have been nothing short of well-paid 'beards'. Hear how Johnny's famous 'Wino for ever' tattoo is far from being a correction but the intended message all along - Mr. Stanhope being the Wino with a hold on his heart all these years. Laugh along at the elaborate disguises used to smuggle Doug onto movie sets - pirate, oompa loompa and Tonto's horse - to name but a few. Shockingly this material was written under the working title, 'The Bum Diary' during Johnny's free time on the set of his film adaptation of Hunter S Thompson's first novel in 2011. Five stars!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As his fans already know, Doug's a stellar storyteller. He has managed to fashion one of the sweetest tributes ever written without using a single molecule of sentiment. If you're looking for someone to learn ya some grammar or explain the difference between "uninterested" and "disinterested," move along. (Johnny Depp's no Hunter S. Thompson, too.) But if you want to be blindsided by exemplary tales of a man who lives by a code (a twisted code but an internally consistent and admirable one), this is the book. Yeah. I'm talking about principles. Thoughtful readers will have a hard time finishing the book without taking a close look at their own lives and asking if they're really behaving in ways that are consistent with their own principles. I wouldn't be surprised if the work inspires a few midlife crises that include a road trip to Bisbee. If you've got friends who have lost someone dear, slipping this under the Hanukah Bush would likely save them the price of a dozen psychotherapy sessions. It's a moving book that I hope reaches a lot of people.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Doug Stanhope is one of the most important voices out there today. His writing is brilliant in ways and on levels which my poor vocabulary and passable writing skills cannot possibly do justice. Bukowski, Thompson, Estep – these are the names that come up for me when thinking of Stanhope’s writing. Many people can write, but few can write so well and with such candor and laser-beam intent – and still be funny as all hell. Stanhope pulls no punches here, and his ability to weave a page-turning story is incredible. But the thing that stands out more than anything to me is that this man has heart and narrative integrity. He not only is accepting of humanity, he revels in it, from the good details to the not-so-good details. The tale of his life and journey with his mother Bonnie is one you really should not overlook unless you don't like reading good books. If you just don't like reading, I imagine an audio version will be coming along soon. Whatever the case, you will look at life (and probably yourself) a little differently after taking this ride with Doug Stanhope, and you will appreciate that his mother raised him in the unconventional and often hysterically funny manner that she did.
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Format: Hardcover
I was really pleased by this superb novel. I do have to admit some bias, however, as I am the 3rd base coach for the Bisbee baseball team "Killer Termites," and of course have gotten to know Stanhope and his shotclog companions (Greg Chaille @gregchaille and Chad Shank @hdfatty) very well.

This is part of the reason I can review this novelization so early: I was trusted by Stanhope to give him my most serious appraisal of the value of the work, adding, in his words, "you've 3rd base coached us to victory enough times to know when to call the runners home or stop um short."

I was obviously flattered by Doug's trust in me, and his willingness to mingle with mere semi-pro citizens, I took on the task of reading his book with aplomb. Boy did Doug make that easy!

The story follows Doug as he first meets the love of his life Amy "Bingo" Bingaman (@bingobingaman) at a Massachusetts boarding school for gifted youths. Continuing through his tumultuous teen years, Doug walks us through and eventually in, to his mother. The striking Stanhope matriarch is described drippingly by Doug, noble and well placed bones (facial) gave her a striking contenance and her Bostonian spirit hurled sage advice to anyone.

Doug and his mother's relationship is vouchsafed by an unbroken and sacred pact via flipping a pizza box with his brother. Brother Stanhope was to write his own novel ("Whisperin' to Papa"), as he won the toss. Capricious fate was kind to Bisbee and any reader of this book, as Doug was left, then, with mother.

I won't spoil the middle part of the novel (but it makes me want to see Baja the way the Stanhope clan did!), suffice to say that it's a genuine piece, a real Mccoy, a tearjerk bringer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"I always feel sorry for people who don’t drink, because when they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re gonna feel all day”

Lawrence Roman (1921-2008) as delivered by Jack Lemmon in Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963)

The line, incorrectly credited to Frank Sinatra, might well have been said by a much older less hip Doug Stanhope about persons of my ilk; we might be utterly boring recluses but we love good comedy. That is obvious, we bought the book didn’t we? He lives this life so the rest of us don’t have to, and it’s truly comforting that Doug is out there fighting the good fight. A mere mortal man would surely perish in the wake of such depravity and substance abuse, but it’s clear Doug is no ordinary human being. He is the liver of life, the teller of truth, and the slayer of pretense. In America we might have the freedom to engage in this kind of outrageous debauchery and moral degradation, except in further contemplation we don’t. There is little question that many of the activities described in this book would land any one of us for a long stretch in federal prison, so don’t try this at home. You have to marvel at Doug’s stamina and ability to slip the grasp of Johnny Law. It proves without question that love conquers all, especially when it’s a mother’s love.

So who knew that this ex-telemarketing scam artist drunken reprobate mama’s boy could write. Damn you Doug Stanhope for getting me all misty eyed on the last page. Damn you for making me spend another $15.46 to send a copy to my sister because of our mother.

Doug, you lucked out writing a good book this time, you even got Johnny D to write the foreword. We all know about the lawsuit, it was payback wasn’t it?
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