Synopses & Reviews
No one knows more about everything — especially everything rude, clever, and offensively compelling — than John Waters. The man in the pencil-thin mustache, auteur of the transgressive movie classics Pink Flamingos, Polyester, the original Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and A Dirty Shame, is one of the world's great sophisticates, and in Mr. Know-It-All he serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; more important, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and yes, how to cheat death itself. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: "Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all."
Studded with cameos of Waters's stars, from Divine and Mink Stole to Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner, Patricia Hearst, and Tracey Ullman, and illustrated with unseen photos from Waters's personal collection, Mr. Know-It-All is Waters's most hypnotically readable, upsetting, revelatory book — another instant Waters classic.
"Waters doesn't kowtow to the received wisdom, he flips it the bird . . . Waters] has the ability to show humanity at its most ridiculous and make that funny rather than repellent." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"Carsick becomes a portrait not just of America's desolate freeway nodes — though they're brilliantly evoked--but of American fame itself." Lawrence Osborne, The New York Times Book Review
"That John Waters is a national treasure is a surety. Period. Thank you and good night . . . [Mr. Know-It-All] shows a vulnerability and an honesty and an almost frantic desire to impart to us, before he can no longer, his manic mantras, his obsessive treatises and his biting and blisteringly honest bons mots that are actually really enlightening life lessons." Alan Cumming, The New York Times Book Review
"Nothing can squelch [John Waters'] outrageous imagination . . . If you don't laugh loud and often, check your pulse, then your breath on a mirror." Ray Olson, Booklist
"Endlessly entertaining . . . Waters's musings are as funny and eccentric as his films; longtime fans will be delighted with the treasure trove of insights into his brilliant oeuvre." Publishers Weekly
"[Mr. Know-It-All] is outrageous and, in ways that only the man who unleashed Pink Flamingos on an unsuspecting public could get away with, sentimental. It peers into the future with eyes both delightful and decadent, and looks backward with a nostalgia for things many of us never knew we missed . . . A delicious, deranged blend that may not be for everybody, and that's just fine with [Waters]." Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun
About the Author
John Waters' books Role Models (2010) and Carsick (2014) were national bestsellers, and his spoken-word shows This Filthy World and A John Waters Christmas continue to be performed around the world. Indecent Exposure, a retrospective exhibition of Waters' acclaimed artwork, was recently shown at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. He is at work on a novel.