SKIPPING TOWARDS GOMORRAH: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America
Someone has to speak up for the sinners, and syndicated sex columnist Savage thinks he's the man to do it. Irritated by proselytizing from "virtuecrats"—conservative pundits like Bill O'Reilly and Dr. Laura—Savage argues that whatever consenting adults want to do in the privacy of their own homes is their own business. Smoke pot? Fine. Host an S&M fetish party? Sure. Savage organizes his book into seven chapters, each devoted to one of the deadly sins: greed, lust, sloth, gluttony, envy, pride and anger. Some of these, of course, are more interesting than others. Who wouldn't rather read about lust than sloth? But Savage dutifully does a nice bit of "undercover reporting" for each sin, checking out a swinger's party for "Lust," visiting Las Vegas for "Greed," attending a fat acceptance convention for "Gluttony." He reports that, unsurprisingly, most Americans who indulge their vices are in fact nice, normal people who believe in God, care for their children and pay their mortgage. Therefore, Savage says, the government and the virtuecrats should leave them alone. So far so good. But Savage tends to underestimate the problems raised by overindulgence in the seven deadly sins. "Yes, fat kills people, but we all gotta go sometime," he writes blissfully from the fat acceptance convention, where 600-pound women complain that dieting suggestions are "sizeist." And he doesn't fully recognize the seriousness of gambling addictions: the intense rush he felt after losing $3,000 at blackjack was "worth it." On the whole, however, Savage hits the mark and gives advocates of personal and sexual liberty the hippest, sassiest voice they've had in a long time. Agent, Elizabeth Wales. (On sale Oct. 14)
Forecast:Readers of Savage's nationally syndicated column, "Savage Love," will surely treat themselves to this.