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At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search…

by Wade Rouse

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Hilarious account of a gay city boy and his partner who move to a rural area of Michigan and their adventures adjusting to life in their own Walden Pond. ( )
  shigaki | Jul 5, 2011 |
Mr Rouse's sense of humor is wonderful. He's self-effacing but not appologetic (if that makes sense). I love him and his partner and the home they've made for themselves. ( )
  ksnider | May 17, 2011 |
Whew, what a title! The cover is what drew me to this book initially. That, and the opening story, in which our protagonist fights of a living coonskin cap he’s acquired while taking out the trash with nothing but tube of Burt’s Bees lip gloss and some breath spray. Full review on Erin Reads. ( )
  erelsi183 | Jul 26, 2010 |
Rouse convinced his partner, Gary, that they should move out of the big city (Chicago) to their summer house in an area he calls "Gayberry", so that he (Rouse) could live a modern day Thoreau-like transformation.

For someone who admits to having run away from his rural area childhood and sculpted himself into the perfect socialite writer stylish gay guy, this is a big step, fraught with pitfalls, or should we say pratfalls, and Rouse milks it for all the humor he can get. He also talks about what he learned. This is The Egg and I in reverse, in some ways. And yes, it is funny.

Now, true to a certain gay guy self-parodying over-the-top subculture (he mentions that his partner's mother gets him the best presents, apparently because she seems to envision him as a 13-year-old girl, and that says it all, doesn't it), he's gotta be bigger than life and more pansy-than-thou, so I kept losing suspension of disbelief at the funniest parts: how could you grow up in the Ozarks and not expect a septic tank? Can anyone really be that obsessive about shoes and still be able to write? Do people really spend this much money? For that matter, if you're still so wierded out by the average human being, why do you live outside the rarified urban lifestyle? Yes, it set off all my "My god, people aren't really *like* this, are they?" buzzers.

On the other hand, well, yes, people sometimes really ARE like this, no matter how much it wierds me out, and if they are willing to develop Third Thoughts about their lives anyway, I'm all for it. There's an a lot more diversity of thought process here than in, say, Alison Bechtel. But then I never tried to read this guy's actual memoir, either. Also, it's refreshing to run into someone who writes something like this who actually has a spiritual life of a more mainstream sort, a feeling of connection with God-as-they-understand him. That's one of the best parts in the book.

At first, I thought, ok, this guy is a loser. Then I thought, Hey, he's kinda funny. Then I thought, omigod, he's SO milking the stereotypes. Then I thought, hey, wow, he's not a bad writer. Moving back to "is anybody really that shallow, and if so, is it moral to admit it in public?" And then, 'hey, that was spot-on, and this is pretty deep. Well, he's not a complete loser after all.. wait, was that a Bette Midler impersonation... what?'

There's a certain gay Gladys Taber effect going on here, as well. Yes, his heroine is Erma Bombeck and it shows, but Erma just didn't have the same material to work with for the serious parts.

Yeah, I'd probably re-read it and recommend it to you all. I'd even pick up a copy if if I saw it cheap or remaindered.

His explanation of small town friendliess and how it complicates life (spot on), followed by the sentence "The first thing that gay men must do when they move to the country is rearrange the woods" makes p. 162 the best in the book, but since I'm too lazy to transcribe it, go read a different excerpt here: http://waderouse.com/content/books_city_scream.asp?id=Excerpt ( )
1 vote bunnyjadwiga | May 5, 2010 |
I recommend this to anyone for which 'gay city humor' is not an immediate turnoff. In tiny little episodes that pinpoint moments in his new country life, Wade Rouse paints a portrait of himself as a recovering metro flamer who is trying to get back to the earth and find meaning in life while retaining some of the indulgences and personality that make him who he is.

Throughout the book he parallels his adventure to Thoreau's Walden, and his writing is strongest when he's doing so. The chapters where Walden is not invoked are fun enough to read but are very episodic and lack any real narrative movement. But this is a memoir, not a novel, and was perfect lunch break entertainment for me. ( )
  bokai | Dec 30, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307451909, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:08 -0400)

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