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The Old Man and the Swamp: A True Story about My Weird Dad, a Bunch of Snakes, and One Ridiculous Road Trip

by

The Old Man and the Swamp: A True Story about My Weird Dad, a Bunch of Snakes, and One Ridiculous Road Trip Cover

 

Staff Pick

Another winner from John Sellers, author of Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life. This true story about his swampy snake-wrangling adventure with his aging father is hilarious and heartwarming.
Recommended by Martha, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

I have nothing against snakes, provided that they're hundreds of miles away from me. And I have nothing against my dad, given the same set of conditions.

In a fit of questionable judgment, consummate indoorsman John Sellers tags along on a journey to search for snakes with his eccentric, aging father — an obsessive fan of Bob Dylan, a giver of terrible gifts, a drinker of boxed wine, a minister- turned-heretic, and, most importantly, the self-designated guardian of the threatened copperbelly water snake.The quest is their fumbling attempt to reconnect. Decades of bitterness, substance abuse, acrimonious divorce, and divergent opinions about personal hygiene have conspired to make the two estranged. Sellers has just begun to develop a new appreciation for the American wilderness, and all the slithering creatures that populate it, when his father's deteriorating health thwarts their mission and disturbs their tentative peace.

Determined to finish what they started, he ventures back into the swamp — alone, but more connected to his dad than ever. With big-hearted humor and irreverence, The Old Man and the Swamp tells the story of a father who always lived on his own terms and the son who struggled to make sense of it all.

Review:

"Sellers (Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life) and his father never had an ideal relationship: as a child he preferred video games and solving Rubik cubes to the outdoors, while his idiosyncratic father was 'a self-made weirdo' who gave up the Lutheran ministry to pursue a less-than-middling career in the study of snakes. Their bond was strained even more after his parents divorced, and his father spiraled farther down with nominal income, drinking, and even more weirdness. But with his father approaching 70, they embarked on a redemptive journey to a swamp in Michigan in search of the endangered copperbelly water snake — his father's most cherished species. The quest for snakes and finding peace with one another form the book's narrative drive — both pursuits offering great potential. Although the ending of the book surprises and pleases, Sellers's storytelling, early on, relies too heavily on jokes and repetitive references to television shows and movies, with little to say on nature for readers with an authentic interest. Even though he eventually warms to his father's obsession, Sellers admits he still finds snakes 'kind of gross.' (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

“I want to ride in a car with John Sellers and his father. This book is honest, hilarious, and always interesting. Sellers is a fantastic writer. He's not just some douche who got famous from a Twitter page.” Justin Halpern, author of Sh*t My Dad Says

Review:

"John Sellers is an exceptionally funny writer. And I’m not just saying that because he knows how to use a shotgun.” A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

Review:

"I was driving in a truck with my buddy, and he picks up this book from the floorboards and right away he starts laughing. Like within seconds. And then he reads me a couple lines and I start laughing too. But John Sellers' The Old Man and the Swamp has more than just humor going for it. It offers some amazing insights into the most inspiring and aggravating man that any of us will ever meet: our dad.” Steven Rinella, author of American Buffalo and host of Travel Channel’s The Wild Within

Review:

"Fast and easy — just the way I like my books." Chris Elliott, author of The Shroud of the Thwacker and Into Hot Air

Review:

"John Sellers has always been a funny writer, and he is very funny here. But as he travels with his herpetology-obsessed dad — himself strange as a snake — his journey twists and turns in surprising, fascinating, and touching ways, with a little hiss of heartbreak thrown in. YES: I am saying that this book is itself like a snake, and it is going to consume you slowly and lovingly, as a snake eats a mouse." John Hodgman, author of The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require

Synopsis:

I have nothing against snakes, provided that they’re hundreds of miles away from me. And I have nothing against my dad, given the same set of conditions.

In a fit of questionable judgment, consummate indoorsman John Sellers tags along on a journey to search for snakes with his eccentric, aging father—an obsessive fan of Bob Dylan, a giver of terrible gifts, a drinker of boxed wine, a minister- turned-heretic, and, most importantly, the self-designated guardian of the threatened copperbelly water snake.

The quest is their fumbling attempt to reconnect. Decades of bitterness, substance abuse, acrimonious divorce, and divergent opinions about personal hygiene have conspired to make the two estranged. Sellers has just begun to develop a new appreciation for the American wilderness, and all the slithering creatures that populate it, when his father’s deteriorating health thwarts their mission and disturbs their tentative peace. Determined to finish what they started, he ventures back into the swamp— alone, but more connected to his dad than ever. With big-hearted humor and irreverence, The Old Man and the Swamp tells the story of a father who always lived on his own terms and the son who struggled to make sense of it all.

About the Author

John Sellers is the author of Perfect From Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life and Arcade Fever: The Fan's Guide to the Golden Age of Video Games. He has written for a host of publications including GQ, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Details, Time Out New York, The Believer, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Sellers writes "The Enthusiast" blog for True/Slant and is a contributing editor for Asylum.com. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. For more information, visit johnsellers.com.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781416588719
Author:
Sellers, John
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Animals - Reptiles & Amphibians
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
History and Social Science » Americana » Midwest
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Reptiles and Amphibians

The Old Man and the Swamp: A True Story about My Weird Dad, a Bunch of Snakes, and One Ridiculous Road Trip New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.99 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781416588719 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Another winner from John Sellers, author of Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life. This true story about his swampy snake-wrangling adventure with his aging father is hilarious and heartwarming.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Sellers (Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life) and his father never had an ideal relationship: as a child he preferred video games and solving Rubik cubes to the outdoors, while his idiosyncratic father was 'a self-made weirdo' who gave up the Lutheran ministry to pursue a less-than-middling career in the study of snakes. Their bond was strained even more after his parents divorced, and his father spiraled farther down with nominal income, drinking, and even more weirdness. But with his father approaching 70, they embarked on a redemptive journey to a swamp in Michigan in search of the endangered copperbelly water snake — his father's most cherished species. The quest for snakes and finding peace with one another form the book's narrative drive — both pursuits offering great potential. Although the ending of the book surprises and pleases, Sellers's storytelling, early on, relies too heavily on jokes and repetitive references to television shows and movies, with little to say on nature for readers with an authentic interest. Even though he eventually warms to his father's obsession, Sellers admits he still finds snakes 'kind of gross.' (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “I want to ride in a car with John Sellers and his father. This book is honest, hilarious, and always interesting. Sellers is a fantastic writer. He's not just some douche who got famous from a Twitter page.”
"Review" by , "John Sellers is an exceptionally funny writer. And I’m not just saying that because he knows how to use a shotgun.”
"Review" by , "I was driving in a truck with my buddy, and he picks up this book from the floorboards and right away he starts laughing. Like within seconds. And then he reads me a couple lines and I start laughing too. But John Sellers' The Old Man and the Swamp has more than just humor going for it. It offers some amazing insights into the most inspiring and aggravating man that any of us will ever meet: our dad.”
"Review" by , "Fast and easy — just the way I like my books."
"Review" by , "John Sellers has always been a funny writer, and he is very funny here. But as he travels with his herpetology-obsessed dad — himself strange as a snake — his journey twists and turns in surprising, fascinating, and touching ways, with a little hiss of heartbreak thrown in. YES: I am saying that this book is itself like a snake, and it is going to consume you slowly and lovingly, as a snake eats a mouse."
"Synopsis" by , I have nothing against snakes, provided that they’re hundreds of miles away from me. And I have nothing against my dad, given the same set of conditions.

In a fit of questionable judgment, consummate indoorsman John Sellers tags along on a journey to search for snakes with his eccentric, aging father—an obsessive fan of Bob Dylan, a giver of terrible gifts, a drinker of boxed wine, a minister- turned-heretic, and, most importantly, the self-designated guardian of the threatened copperbelly water snake.

The quest is their fumbling attempt to reconnect. Decades of bitterness, substance abuse, acrimonious divorce, and divergent opinions about personal hygiene have conspired to make the two estranged. Sellers has just begun to develop a new appreciation for the American wilderness, and all the slithering creatures that populate it, when his father’s deteriorating health thwarts their mission and disturbs their tentative peace. Determined to finish what they started, he ventures back into the swamp— alone, but more connected to his dad than ever. With big-hearted humor and irreverence, The Old Man and the Swamp tells the story of a father who always lived on his own terms and the son who struggled to make sense of it all.

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