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Shampoo Planet Paperback – May 1, 1993
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Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
I liked Shampoo Planet. It wasn't Catcher In The Rye, but it was my World and I think many who are orbiting in that same lifestage will relate to it too.
Shampoo Planet begins with Tyler's mother, Jasmine, waking up to find the word "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" written across her forehead. From this point forth, Jasmine and Tyler both set sail on a roller coaster ride of self-discovery, seeking to reclaim their self-worth from a new perspective. From the small, cozy town of Lancaster, Washington, in which many suffer from the closing of "the Plants," Tyler branches out seeking what else life has to offer. Using his ambition as his fuel, Tyler aims towards escape from the mundane.
We learn of Tyler's trip to Europe, during which he met an opportunistic French girl named Stephanie, and from whom he will learn to appreciate the past. Once Tyler returns home, we are introduced to his sister Daisy, who seems eager to escape the present by living vicariously with her boyfriend through her mother's days as a hippie. Tyler's now-ex-step-father, Dan, would rather create false realities than face his true existence. Tyler's grandparents have lost their money and are trying desperately to regain their societal stature by becoming involved in a pyramid scheme. We also learn of Tyler's post-feminist girlfriend, Anna-Louise, whose aim is to help Tyler get through college and achieve his dream of becoming a big-wig for a large corporation, and whom Tyler seems unwilling or incapable of acknowledging the fact that she has an eating disorder.
Tyler later reconnects with his summer fling, Stephanie, who, after stirring up controversy between Anna-Louise and Tyler, convinces him to venture to California in attempt to "make it big" as a photographer. On the way south, Tyler pays an uncomfortable visit to his estranged biological father. Once in Hollywood, Tyler realizes that the "good life" isn't easily handed to you on a silver platter.
Though Tyler and his friends are living in a time of modernity and seemingly shallow introversion, where "what's on top of your head says what's inside your head," there is really more to them than meets the eye. Disillusioned by magazines and television into believing a romanticized version of the future exists, one in which people really do get what they want and are actually happy with mere material possessions, Tyler clearly has a lot to learn.
Coupland's writing is chock full of witty banter and intelligent, humorous analogies that make for a highly entertaining read for those of any generation. The cast of well-rounded, realistic characters is simply unforgettable. Coupland has several good points to get across and he knows how to do so in a way that is easily accessible, extremely fun, and profoundly lighthearted. This is definitely not the last Coupland book I will pick up. Very highly recommended!
"Clean hair; clean body; clean mind; clean life. You could become famous at any moment and your whole personal history could be unearthed. And then what would they find? Turn on the shower" (Coupland, 133).
Things start to go awry when ex-hippie Jasmice wakes up with "divorce" written on her forehead. Ambitious twenty-year-old Tyler is a living anti-hippie, devoted to hair-care, sleek technology and big corporations. He considers Jasmine the living figure of sixties idiocy, but he consoles his mother about her rotten husband's departure.
As he comforts Jasmine, he contemplates his own life, his sweet girlfriend Anna Louise, and his oddball family, which was based in a weird hippie commune when he was little. Things in Tyler's life are disrupted when the haughty Stephanie, a summer fling, comes to visit -- and stay. Tyler travels with his fling-turned-new-girlfriend to California, but finds himself more alone than he has ever been before.
In this book, Coupland takes a look at a small group of people -- young, intelligent college graduates who aren't sure whether to follow their dreams, or chain themselves to a big corporation. Don't worry -- it's not half as boring as it sounds. Coupland keeps the book vibrant with snotty Europeans, scraggly ex-hippies and the offspring they drive crazy.
Theme aside, Coupland has a way of tugging at the heartstrings, without becoming really sentimental, and reminds us that "the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself." His writing is sharp, solid and strangely evocative of a split world: half sand candles and flowers, half leather furniture and big-screen TVs. And he has a unique sense of humor -- he doesn't make readers really laugh, but just exposes the absurd side of things.
Tyler starts off superficial and rather snotty, and he spends much of the book doing the wrong thing. But Coupland makes him grow up slowly, making him see the worth of people he thought were freakish before. Not to mention his long-suffering girlfriend Anna Louise, who is obviously The Girl for Tyler. Jasmine is a very real portrait of an aging hippie -- full of life and sweetness, yet incredibly naive.
Douglas Coupland's "Shampoo Planet" tackles some of the same turf as "Generation X," yet it gets more intimate and sweet than his first novel did. Remember -- what's on top of your head does not say what's inside your head.