At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream : Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life
We all dream it.
Wade Rouse actually did it.
Finally fed up with the frenzy of city life and a job he hates, Wade Rouse decided to make either the bravest decision of his life or the worst mistake since his botched Ogilvie home perm: to uproot his life and try, as Thoreau did some 160 years earlier, to "live a plain, simple life in radically reduced conditions."
In this rollicking and hilarious memoir, Wade and his partner, Gary, leave culture, cable, and consumerism behind and strike out for rural Michigan-a place with fewer people than in their former spinning class. There, Wade discovers the simple life isn't so simple. Battling blizzards, bloodthirsty critters, and nosy neighbors equipped with night-vision goggles, Wade and his spirit, sanity, relationship, and Kenneth Cole pointy-toed boots are sorely tested with humorous and humiliating frequency. And though he never does learn where his well water actually comes from or how to survive without Kashi cereal, he does discover some things in the woods outside his knotty-pine cottage in Saugatuck, Michigan, that he always dreamed of but never imagined he'd find-happiness and a home.
At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream is a sidesplitting and heartwarming look at taking a risk, fulfilling a dream, and finding a home-with very thick and very dark curtains.
Having escaped the idiocy of rural life in his growing-up-gay-in-the-Ozarks memoir America's Boy, the author returns to it in this flamboyant fish-out-of-water saga. Inspired by Thoreau, Rouse and his partner moved to a cottage near the Michigan resort town of Saugatuck in order to simplify; wean himself from his addictions to shopping, tanning and cable; and resolve childhood traumas by being brashly gay in a nonurban setting. Saugatuck is actually quite gay-friendly, but trials abound: the eerie quiet of the countryside, the apocalyptic snows, a marauding raccoon fended off with lip balm and breath spray, the scarcity of gourmet yuppie-chow, the humiliation of wearing waders instead of Kenneth Cole boots, the slow, unfashionable locals who ask, rather perceptively, "'Don't you ever take anything seriously... things that don't affect only you?'" Rouse's battle with his own narcissism is a losing one; indeed, it feels like the real point of offering his pink-outfitted self to the suspicious gazes of hunters and other yokels is simply to accentuate what a fascinating spectacle he is. Alas, Rouse's comically campy, but rarely truly funny, writing is so trite that few readers will share his self-involvement. (June)
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May 31, 2009
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