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Shampoo Planet Paperback – May 1, 1993
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
This nicely balanced collection of 20 stories--most of them familiar--from the past 15 years was a Literary Guild selection in cloth.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Still a cultural pulse-taker, Coupland (Generation X, 1991) organizes his hip bromides and next-wave sententiousness into a rather humdrum narrative that's long on posturing, short on plot. Laughing at disaster, Coupland's post-post-baby-boomers rationalize the culture of constant change, self-reinvention, and immediate gratification. Tyler Johnson, the 20-year-old narrator whose ``memories begin with Ronald Reagan,'' is an apocalyptic entrepreneur, a hotel-motel studies major who believes wholeheartedly in a boundless future, one he hopes to see as an employee for a northwestern conglomerate presided over by his personal hero, the CEO author of Life at the Top. A smart and glib media savant, Tyler speaks ``telethon-ese'' with his girlfriend and dubs his room at home the ``modernarium.'' His mother, Jasmine, a hippie with armpit hair and a ``predilection for substance enthusiasts,'' represents everything that was wrong (in Tyler's view) about the Sixties. His grandparents, on the other hand, hoard their wealth and greedily pursue their pyramid sales scheme, marketing a cat food ``system.'' Meanwhile, Tyler's summer fling in Paris comes to haunt him. The haughty and selfish Stephanie, one of the ``low-ambition Euro-teens'' he met on vacation, convinces him to move to L.A. with her in pursuit of fame and riches. Their adventures on the road include a visit to the commune where Tyler was born and a nightmarish stay at his father's drug farm. In L.A., Tyler works a fast-food ``McJob,'' while Stephanie secretly finds a sugar-daddy. Chastened by his low-life in la-la-land, Tyler returns home, rewarded with a dream job and a happier family. This TV/computer/video-savvy fiction is a frank celebration of life as a series of theme parks. Coupland's social commentary is, at its worst, fortune-cookie profound and, at best, a gloss on the Zeitgeist. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This book is full of mall-rats, computer games geeks, French babes, hospitality and hotel management majors, defunct hippies, dysfunctional bankrupts...and it exposes a subtle tragedy underlying the modern American dream...
I the first part of the book to be a tad-bit-annoying as well because of the gluttony of made up products that are introduced in what I think was an attempt to capture the times and the pursuit of what would now be worthless products as the world jumped fully onto the consumption bandwagon. The trademark symbol made reading tedious at times, at least for me – probably because the book was published in 1992 and I read it last week.
I’m not sure the TM formula works today, which gave the first part a very dated feel that seemed to try too hard to be witty.
Casting my debatable opinion aside, the cast of characters we meet during Tyler’s path to figure out who he is, are intoxicating. Whether it is hippy mother, Jasmine, his siblings, the Kiwi guy in Paris, or his strength to escape, “Princess Stephanie,” a pampered girl from a rich French family eventually this cast drags you in and the second half of the book turns into a page-turning gem.
While reading it appeared that “Princess Stephanie” had a plan – and she executed it to perfection. She needed an accomplice which turned out to be Tyler. They took their show on the road from a rural small town (dying) in Washington State to Seattle and then eventually to LA... helping Tyler to escape being trapped in his upbringing.
The ending is tragic and uplifting at the same time.
I was a bit older than Tyler during the period the book was about. My experience was different – I didn’t grow up in a commune.
Tyler was only in his early twenties I don’t remember it being that urgent to define yourself at that age.
Anyway, overall, I enjoyed SHAMPOO PLANET. I’m just not sure what the point of fiction when life in the ‘NON’ world is real?
And of course Coupland's first two books also gained immeasurably from their pics..
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in how young people lived and thought in the early 1990s. As I said, it's a bit of an exaggerated satire, but is close enough to the truth to give you the flavor of the era of Jello dreads, Nirvana, and hackey sacks.