Synopses & Reviews
A cross-country hitchhiking journey with America's most beloved weirdo.
John Waters is putting his life on the line. Armed with wit, a pencil-thin mustache, and a cardboard sign that reads “I'm Not Psycho,” he hitchhikes across America from Baltimore to San Francisco, braving lonely roads and treacherous drivers. But who should we be more worried about, the delicate film director with genteel manners or the unsuspecting travelers transporting the Pope of Trash?
Before he leaves for this bizarre adventure, Waters fantasizes about the best and worst possible scenarios: a friendly drug dealer hands over piles of cash to finance films with no questions asked, a demolition-derby driver makes a filthy sexual request in the middle of a race, a gun-toting drunk terrorizes and holds him hostage, and a Kansas vice squad entraps and throws him in jail. So what really happens when this cult legend sticks out his thumb and faces the open road? His real-life rides include a gentle eighty-one-year-old farmer who is convinced Waters is a hobo, an indie band on tour, and the perverse filmmaker's unexpected hero: a young, sandy-haired Republican in a Corvette.
Laced with subversive humor and warm intelligence, Carsick is an unforgettable vacation with a wickedly funny companion — and a celebration of America's weird, astonishing, and generous citizenry.
"The illustrious director of Hairspray, Cry Baby, and Pink Flamingoes embarked on a cross-country hitchhiking journey in 2012. This, Waters's seventh book, is a travelogue of his experiences bumming rides all the way from his home in Baltimore to his apartment in San Francisco. Waters idiosyncratically cuts to the core of American diversity, finding the good (and bad) in any situation with biting wit. The unlikely friendship Waters forms with a young Republican politician is an unexpected twist, and a timely tale of bromance in the midst of hardship. If a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and the pope of Trash can have an adventure in Reno together, aren't all things still possible in this world? But for Waters aficionados, the best parts of this enchanting narrative aren't the ones that actually happened. Fans will delight in the two novellas, with Waters at his campiest and most ludicrous, that precede the nonfiction third act. Presenting the best- and worst-case scenarios for modern hitchhiking as only Waters can, the narratives range from encounters with a pleasant group of marijuana smugglers and Edith Massey, to a harrowing imprisonment in Kansas and traumatic fan meeting. Waters devotees take note: this is required reading. Agent: Bill Clegg, William Morris Endeavor. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Fantastical and plush....Carsick becomes a portrait not just of America's desolate freeway nodes — though they are brilliantly evoked — but of American fame itself." The New York Times Book Review
"In this, the seventh of his books, John Waters — the evil genuis of Baltimore, the living, breathing embodiment of camp, the man with the bristling pencil-thin mustache and vocabulary that would make a drill sargeant blush — betrays his deepest and darkest secret. In these pages the apostle of outrage — the actor, writer and director whose contributions to cinematic glory include Pink Flamingos, Mondo Trasho, and Hairspray — reveals himself to be a...sentimentalis...underlying it all is a highly developed sense of fun, a desire to amuse more than to shock....Waters has made a funny engaging and — of course — occasionally outrageous book....All in all a cool trip and a delightful book." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"This is all good, dirty subversive fun...a good helping of unbridgled lewdness is surely to be expected, and no doubt cherished, from the man known as the king of filth and the pope of trash. However, once [Waters] gets on the road and begins his 'real life' adventure, he comes across as a very different, and much more benign and vulnerable, figure. In many ways, he's an innocent....He also has to rely on the kindness of strangers, and he finds it everywhere. Quite a few people mistake him for a homeless man and try to give him a handout. Some of this is deeply moving....As he says in the book's acknowledgments, 'If I ever hear another elitist jerk use the term flyover people, I'll punch him in the mouth.' I do believe he will." San Francisco Chronicle
"Face it: Wouldn't you rather strike out on the road with John Waters than Jack Kerouac?" Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"John Waters is something of a living stunt, in the best possible way. A hero of both American and Americana, Waters has changed the culture of the country as much as any other living filmmaker — Errol Morris, Wes Anderson, or Paul Verhoeven." Bookforum
About the Author
John Waters is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, and visual artist best known for his cult films, including Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, and Cecil B. DeMented. He is also the author of a memoir, Role Models. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.