Synopses & Reviews
Dishwasher is Pete Jordan's amusing memoir of his itinerant dishwashing extravaganza. For 12 years, I was the most prolific dishlicker of them all. From 1989 - 2001, I dished my way around the country, unwittingly searching for direction. From a bagel joint in New Mexico to a Mexican joint in Brooklyn; from a dinner train in Rhode Island to the Lawrence Welk Resort in Branson, MO; from an upper-crust ladies' club to a crusty hippie commune - I washed the nation's dishes, he explains.
Part adventure, part self-parody, and part self-discovery, it reveals how he transformed into Dishwasher Pete - the ultimate professional dish dog, unlikely folk hero, writer, and publisher of his own cult 'zine - and his struggles to find love, stability, and yes, the elusive happy-ever-after.
"For 12 years, Jordan (aka Dishwasher Pete) tramped about the U.S. washing dishes. Despite a survey of 740 occupations in which 'dishwasher ranked #735,' Jordan, then in his mid-30s, sees the inherent benefits of the job: downtime in between meals, free food (and beer), being able to quit at a moment's notice and an abundance of similar opportunities all over the country. The writing is lucid and earnest, and Jordan's passion for dishwashing and, even more so, for blowing-in-the-wind traveling, is infectious. As his quest extends from one year to the next, and he questions the worthiness of his goal to 'bust suds' in all 50 states, he demonstrates an ability to convey his deepest fears without losing the upbeat, fun tone that pervades the entire memoir. What does hurt this rather lengthy book's pacing is that every dishwashing job (save a few) is pretty much the same, and the descriptions can get as repetitive as a wash cycle. Still, Jordan's knowledge of famous dishwashers (Gerald Ford, Little Richard, etc.) and dishwashers' roles in creating unions adds a substance that juxtaposes nicely with the author's slacker lifestyle." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Jordan, sometimes known as 'Dishwasher Pete,' serves up one of the most entertaining memoirs to appear in quite a while....The book's exploration of the dishwashing subculture is fascinating." Booklist
"Dishwasher is an instant American classic. It should be required reading for every high school student in the nation, paired with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Enjoyable manifesto celebrating rootless irresponsibility, with rueful acknowledgment of the pitfalls therein." Kirkus Reviews
"Sprinkled with fascinating dish-washing history....Dishwasher's appeal is in Jordan's triumph, proving that following your heart even into a sink full of scalding water isn't such a bad idea." Penthouse
"This is a story of youth (desperate to avoid experience), of work, and of the mad vastness of America, as compelling to my mind as Jack Kerouac's On The Road." Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of It All
"[An] honest and fun account of a strange period in the life of a living oxymoron: a hard-working slacker." Bookslut
Dishwasher is the true story of a man on a mission: to clean dirty dishes professionally in every state in America. Part adventure, part parody, and part miraculous journey of self-discovery, it is the unforgettable account of Pete Jordan's transformation from itinerant seeker into Dishwasher Pete unlikely folk hero, writer, publisher of his own cult zine, and the ultimate professional dish dog and how he gave it all up for love.
About the Author
Pete Jordan chronicled his adventures as a dishwasher on NPR's This American Life and in his underground zine Dishwasher, which amassed a following of nearly 10,000 readers. He moved to Amsterdam with his wife in 2002 and began a new life as a bicycle mechanic and writer. This is his first book.