Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America

John Waters. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-3742-9863-0
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)
Reviewed on: 04/28/2014
Release date: 06/03/2014
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