Synopses & Reviews
Two Englishmen on a crime spree break American laws!
Stupid, unreasonable, and long-forgotten laws—but laws just the same.
In 1787 the wise framers of the U.S. Constitution laid out the laws of the land. Since then, things have gone awry, and a few laws even the far-sighted framers couldnt have imagined have worked their way onto the books in towns and cities across the country.
Did you know that in the United States its illegal to:
• Fish while wearing pajamas in Chicago, Illinois?
• Enter a theater within three hours of eating garlic in Indianapolis?
• Offer cigarettes or whiskey to zoo animals in New Jersey?
• Fall asleep in a cheese factory in South Dakota?
Englishman Rich Smith discovered these little-known laws during a great American crime spree that took him from coast to coast in search of girls to kiss (its illegal to kiss for longer than five minutes at a time in Kansas), oranges to peel (which the law says shouldnt be done in hotel rooms in California), and whales to hunt (unlawful in Utah).
What inspired a perfectly law abiding, mild-mannered Englishman to come to America and take on the law? He simply wanted to know why. How did these “only in America” laws come to be, do the police know they exist, and would they care if he broke them? So with his best mate, Bateman, by his side—and at the ready should bail be required—Smith set out to break the law in the United States.
Part road trip, part chronicle of the absurdity of human behavior, part search for the ultimate in roadkill, You Can Get Arrested for That follows Smith and Bateman on their not quite Bonnie and Clyde adventure.
"The premise is solid enough: Smith, a 20-something journalism student in England, asks a buddy, Luke Bateman, to travel across the U.S. with him over the course of a summer, with the goal of trying to break more than two-dozen archaic laws along the way-without getting caught, of course, and while documenting the adventures. The execution is less than captivating: it is illegal to ride a bike in a swimming pool in the Los Angeles suburb of Baldwin Park; they do. In Globe, Ariz., it is illegal to play cards against a Native American; they do. (Actually, Smith does, and Bateman photographs.) Smith seemingly picks the laws at random, with little explanation or research into their backgrounds. So when the two men fish in their pajamas in Chicago, or drink beer out of a bucket on a St. Louis sidewalk, it reads like little more than a prank TV vignette. There's some cheek (as in a trip to Hooters) but too much British reserve: one doesn't come away with a strong sense of Smith and Bateman's friendship, or how the long months in a car together affect their relationship." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
23-year-old Brit Rich Smith will spend the summer on a cross-country tour of America during which he and his sidekick, Luke, will break all kinds of obscure and absurd laws, just to see what happens. Smith will also investigate how these strange laws came to be.
British-born Smith chronicles his cross-country tour of America during which he and his sidekick, Luke, violated all kinds of obscure and absurd laws, just to see what would happen. Smith investigates how these strange laws came to be.
About the Author
Rich Smith is twenty-five and lives in Portreath on the north Cornish coast. He is currently studying for a degree in journalism. His ambition is to become a primary school teacher.