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Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot Paperback – April 14, 1990
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"When people laugh like hell and then say, 'That's not funny', you can be pretty sure they're talking about John Callahan."
-- P.J.,O'Rourke, author of Holidays in Hell
"Actually Callahan goes too far, and he'll take you with him.... He'll move muscles you don't know you have." -- Roy Blount, Jr.
"John Callahan doesn't need feet to go far. He does it with guts, brains, fingers, and a wonderful sick sense of humor."
From the Inside Flap
Is it possible to find humor -- corrosive, taboo-shattering, laugh-till-you-cry humor -- in the story of a 38-year-old- cartoonist who's both a quadriplegic and a recovering alcoholic? The answer is yes, if the cartoonist is John Callahan -- whose infamous work has graced the pages of Omni, Penthouse, and The New Yorker -- and if he's telling it in his own words and pictures. But Callahan's uncensored account of his troubled -- and sometimes impossible -- life is also genuinely inspiring. Without self-pity or self-righteousness, this liberating book tells us how a quadriplegic with a healthy libido has sex, what it's like to live in the exitless maze of the welfare system, where a cartoonist finds his comedy, and how a man with no reason to believe in anything discovers his own brand of faith.
Top customer reviews
For whatever reason, I was expecting something completely different than what I got with this book, and was more shocked at the complete honesty and depressing series of events that seemingly followed him throughout his life and eventually led to the dark gallows humor of his life’s work. I feel like this book focused a lot on his alcoholism and recovery process, and that he looks stoically on the decisions he made that led to his alcohol dependence and also his recovery in AA. There is no humor in much of the suffering he had endured in his short life, and this book is a brutally honest reflection of his experiences, “putting his best foot forward” and facing his demons head on.
I suppose I expected to see more of his work (not reproductions, rather his rise to being a notable artist) in the book, and perhaps a bit more humor, but in order to appreciate the work that he went on to do later there is no surprise where the inspiration came from. The organization of the book is relatively straightforward: the first third is about his childhood and events leading up to and including his accident, the second third is about his recovery and processing and recovery of his alcoholism, and the final third (which I thought the book would primarily be about) was about his career in cartoon gags.
I received this from my good friend Dr. Bill Keough when he was still alive, and enjoyed reading along with him the story of this man who he held in high regard. There is something about reading a book that a friend had cherished after they are gone and appreciating the sentiment and appreciation they had with the piece and wanted to share with their good friend. Similarly, I very much appreciate the man Callahan was (who was also alive when Keough bestowed it on my collection), and find it somewhat sad that at the end of his career he had given up drawing and moved on to write music that holds a depressing and melancholy mirror to his (and my parent’s) generation.
He was a champion of free speech, and with few exception can I remember someone who has graced the pages of my favorite magazines with as much satire and bewildering offensiveness in their work, but in a manner that leads the observer to appreciate the message the work is conveying. With Callahan, there is certainly a message, and it helps us poke fun at our insecurities, inequality, racism, and differently-abled-ism (name the word-du-jour) to evoke a positive change in laughing at ourselves and our situation in humanity. What made this book so brilliant and touching was that he finally, seriously, and truthfully turned the mirror on himself, and allowed us to peer into the struggle that made such important (and hilarious, and offensive) work.
Most recent customer reviews
At 23, also in a car accident, I became a member of the very unpopular club that John Callahan joined, a quadriplegic, although I have...Read more