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Letters to Wendy's Paperback – January 1, 2004

3.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What kind of person is inspired by a fast-food restaurant? If this new book is any indication, it's one who is by turns worshipful, disturbing and just plain weird. Conceived as a series of comment cards to a local Wendy's, this unconventional fiction chronicles the life (or lack thereof) of an unnamed narrator who spends his days drinking oversize sodas and contemplating the meaning of the fast-food icon. In his more lucid moments, the narrator imagines Wendy's as a cradle-to-grave institution, supplying IV nourishment for a person's last days in the form of "liquid fries." He also posits that Wendy's would serve well as a site for state-sponsored executions, providing both the correct quality of light and an abundance of refreshments. He's just as likely, however, to devolve into soft-porn daydreams involving the counter help and prepackaged foods. About the narrator himself, we learn very littleAno name, no profession, no home address: just an Everyman as fast-food customer. In its best moments, the book delivers some insights into the social mores of people thrown together in a public place of business, people who share the same space and general eating habits but are unwilling to share much else. In short snippets, the narrative can be intriguing; excerpts have appeared on the Web site Nerve.com. But there's no plot to speak of, and spending time with this voyeuristic stranger quickly grows both creepy and tedious. (Dec. 15) FYI: Letters to Wendy's is Verse Press's debut publication. The press will devote itself to releasing innovative works in all genres by poets (Wenderoth is the author of two poetry collections, Disfortune and It Is if I Speak).
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

A perverse, sometimes pretty, obscene and confounding collection of one page meditative missives... trimmed with lunatic fringe. -- Rolling Stone

Charting the narrator's daily routine .... the work reveals an obsession with sexuality, isolation and consumerism run amok. -- Valley Advocate, February 8th, 2001

I couldn't have loved this book any more than I did. So good. -- kottke.org, April 2, 2001

Letters to Wendy's, believe it or not, is a work of genius. -- Philadelphia Weekly, February 8th, 2001

Likely to be known... as the most apt, able, and adventurous ars poetica produced for and by Generation X. -- John D'Agata, Boston Review

These postmodern koans work, in part, because they conjure images so incongruous in the context of a Wendy's visit. -- Feed Magazine, feedmag.com, February 8th, 2001

Wenderoth's first book of fiction ... offers a poetic figure uniquely in tune with what is simultaneously perverse and glorious. -- Rain Taxi, April 2001
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Wave Books; 1st edition (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970367201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970367204
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliantly paced book of hilarious, sad, beautiful and perverted prose poems. It's like Nabokov in that it is simultaneously perverted and erudite. I read almost all of it on the subway this morning and relished the others reading over my shoulder as I read about Frosties, Porn in the morning, Foucault, and spanking Wendy.
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Format: Paperback
Wenderoth has found a new form for poetry--the customer comment card--and filled a series of them with more desire and truth than any restaurant could safely want to know. Imagine the phrase "How can I help you?" finding no compromise. A stunning and dangerous book.
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By Katey on January 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This little book full of little "poems" packs a thunderous punch. Wenderoth manages to incorporate humor, genius, sex, love, pain, disease, etc in an inventive form. Why is this book so great? Because nobody's done it before. Nobody's brave enough to create such literature. This is a new favorite on my shelves of poetry books. It stands out...a blur of genre, a combination of many realms. Absolutely wonderful.
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Format: Paperback
Joe Wenderoth’s spare, dark collection of aphoristic poems is reaches strange heights in this nicely written diary. Taking Wendy’s as the centerpiece of American culture, Wenderoth constructs a densely semiotic chain of interlocking objects and moods. Often funny, probably more often gloomy, this small text speaks to the generalized alienation of recession America. A strange work, though you might be happy to be out of it by the end.
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Format: Paperback
Joe Wenderoth's Letters to Wendy's is a shockingly honest commentary on consumerism & capitalism written in the form of bits of reflection on Wendy's comment cards. The narrator uses things like Biggies, Frostys, and the girl depicted in the Wendy's logo as vessels to delve into metaphysical thought. He grapples with what it means to be authentic and feel truly alive in a consumerist culture, broaching subjects like drugs and pornography in his diary entry-like letters. The letters are like miniature essays that'll make you feel like you're reading something deeply personal and profound. They're also very lyric and poetic, but certainly not without humor, as many of the narrator's thoughts and actions are absurdly funny and will likely make you laugh out loud.
This book is a great & thought-provoking read, whether you read it in segments or gobble it up in one sitting.
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Format: Paperback
Letters to Wendy's offers a wonderful commentary on our love/hate relationship with Capitalist consumerism. Through the use of short, thought-saturated essays, Wenderoth shows us the world through the consumerist lens over the course of a year-- in one simple fast food restaurant, we can have all our needs fulfilled: food, drink, voyeuristic and sexual pleasure, excretion, and shelter. Wenderoth is a poet, an experimenter, and a philosopher. His poignant thoughts about the philosophy of consumerism encourage us to contemplate our complicity in a world where we consistently want and are given more. He shows us that we are moving toward a world of everyday Wendy's, a loss of boundaries for the sake of supporting a Capitalist economy. Over the course of just over a year writing letters to Wendy's, Wenderoth offers a journey. Tell us about your visit-- We care!
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By A Customer on January 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Letters To Wendy's is an incredible achievement: it manages to blend pornography, philosophy and beauty into one big frosty dessert treat. This book is a "Biggie" in more ways than one: it's big on lyrical beauty, humor, sex and thoughtfulness. It's a hilarious and poignant collection of prose poems. As a colleague pointed out today, who else can make the word "employee" sound so beautiful?
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By A Customer on April 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Well, okay, it's great to suddenly hear Wenderoth lust after an American Icon/logo (and she gets spanked!). "Letters" is interesting in parts, but by page 150 one starts to feel a sense of diminishing returns while reading this book. How many clever--albeit slightly twisted--aphorisms in a row can one continue to be as hungry for, after all, as, say one of those big double cheeseburgers with the dual square patties. This book lacks the formal variety of Wenderoth's books of poems. Wenderoth is not, as a writer, always best served by forced brevity. And in "Letters" he seems so intent on shocking the reader and it just feels mildly arrogant. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from buying this book, but I prefer the poems full of large breaths and diamond honed crystalizations in Wenderoth's first two groundbreaking books.
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