Synopses & Reviews
The author of the bestselling Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon
takes aim at the boomer generation in a hilarious work of social commentary.
It's become fashionable to vilify baby boomers. Professional iconoclast and baby boomer Joe Queenan, however, takes a somewhat more benign position: Yes, the baby boomers are venal, self-obsessed egomaniacs blighted by an insalubrious interest in things like the provenance of their neighbors' balsamic vinegar. But this does not make them the "worst generation" -- it just makes them the most annoying.
In Balsamic Dreams, Queenan chronicles the evolution of his generation and critiques its current condition in chapters such as:
--J'Accuse: a bold indictment of the boomers' greatest transgressions, past and present
--Ten Days That Rocked the World: in which Queenan identifies the precise moments things went awry (#1: the release of Carole King's Tapestry)
--Careful, the Staff Might Hear You: an examination of the unspoken, nefarious alliance between baby boomers and Generation X
--American History: The B-Sides: an alternative version of the Republic as played out with baby boomers in the starring roles
A measured (if a tad cranky) assessment of a generation whose greatest sin lies in confusing lifestyle for life and pop culture for culture, Balsamic Dreams is fresh, funny, and irresistible.
"When Joe Queenan is good, he's very, very good. But when he's bad, he's a whole lot better." John Anderson, New York Newsday
"Half-Calvinist, half-nihilist...[he's] outrageously funny." James Ellroy, author of L.A. Confidential
"I've laughed till it hurt reading Joe Queenan." Michael Lewis, author of The New New Thing
"Queenan cuts into his targets with all the verbal agility of a literary samurai." Craig Lindsey, Houston Chronicle
"When a book's index features entries like 'Ringwald, Molly -- America's refusal to deal with sinister legacy of,' you know you're dealing with a brilliantly sick mind." Andrew Johnston, Time Out
"Somewhere, Mencken is beaming." Bruce McCall, The New York Times Book Review
“Really funny....Again and again, Queenan neatly dices and skewers the pretensions, hypocrisies and fashion mistakes of the generation that came of age during the 1960s....Balsamic Dreams
is, as we Boomers would say, just about as good as it gets.” —The Washington Post
“A witty tirade.” —The New York Times
“Full of rollicking and hilarious prose, and with this book Queenan performs a public service: He tells boomers to get over themselves.” —USA Today
“Lunch-pail Voltaire for our times.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Often clever and rarely wrong....A finely, funny screed.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A sardonic, often laugh-out-loud puncturing of Baby Boomer pretensions.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Queenan...dissects these ephemeral creatures asdelicately as an entomologist examining the innerworkings of a mayfly. He lays bare their failings, foibles, fatuities, flaws, and fads with a keen and unsentimental knife. The pages bristle with caustic wit and deadlyparody....A fully diverting diversion.” —Library Journal
“A hilarious, quasi-maniacal extended rant against baby boomers....He pulls no punches.” —Salon.com
"I've laughed till it hurt reading Joe Queenan." --Michael Lewis, author of The New New Thing
"When Joe Queenan is good, he's very, very good. But when he's bad, he's a whole lot better." --Newsday
"Half-Calvinist, half-nihilist . . . [He's] outrageously funny." --James Ellroy, author of L.A. Confidential
"Joe Queenan descs on our cultural detritus like an angry cormorant. And I mean that in the best way." --Bill Maher, host of Politically Incorrect
"Somewhere, Mencken is beaming."--Bruce McCall, The New York Times Book Review
Lately it's become fashionable to vilify Baby Boomers as "the worst generation": the most selfish, the most avaricious, the most hypocritical -- and the most obsessed with the provenance of their neighbors' porcini mushrooms. But is this characterization fair?
Professional iconoclast and Baby Boomer Joe Queenan decided to find out, and the results are not pretty. How did a generation that started out at Woodstock and Monterey end up at Crate & Barrel? How did a generation that promised to "teach its children well" end up with progeny so evil they could give the kid from The Omen a run for his money? How could one single generation eat that much squid-ink vermicelli?
In Balsamic Dreams, Joe Queenan explains, more in sorrow than in anger, precisely how a generation with so much promise lost its way. A hilarious work of incisive social commentary, it offers a measured, if cranky, assessment of a generation whose greatest sin lies in confusing pop culture with culture and mistaking lifestyle for life.
A measured assessment of a generation whose greatest sin lies in confusing lifestyle for life and pop culture for culture, "Balsamic Dreams" is fresh, funny, and irresistible commentary by the author of the bestselling "Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon".
From the bestselling author of Red Lobster, White Trash and the Blue Lagoon
comes a vintage Queenan tirade chronicling the evolution of his own Baby Boomer Generation. How did a generation that started out at Woodstock andMonterey end up at Crate & Barrel? How did a generation that promised to “teach its children well” end up with a progeny so evil they could give Damien from The Omen
a run for his money? And what is so fascinating about porcini mushrooms? Professional iconoclast Queenan shows how a generation with so much promise lost its way by confusing pop culture with culture and mistaking lifestyle for life.
Queenan on The Sixties: “Baby Boomers who never saw Hendrix, did drugs, locked or loaded an AK-47 in country or bedded down with a girl named Radiance now all pretend they did. Its like those Civil War reenactment buffs who have drunk so much Wild Turkey they actually think they were at Chickamauga.”
Queenan on Death: “A generation whose primary cultural artifact is the Filofax has enormous difficulty shoehorning death into its schedule: its inconvenient, time-consuming and stressful. ‘We dont have time to die this afternoon; Caitlin has ballet.”
About the Author
The author of six previous books, including Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon, JOE QUEENAN is a contributing editor at GQ and writes a column, "Good Fences," for The New York Times. He lives in Tarrytown, New York.