On the heels of his Emmy-winning It Gets Better campaign, columnist and provocateur Dan Savage weighs in on such diverse issues as healthcare, gun control, and marriage equality with characteristic straight talk and humor.
Dan Savage has always had a loyal audience, thanks to his syndicated sex-advice column Savage Love but since the incredible global success of his It Gets Better project - his book of the same name was a New York Times best seller - his profile has skyrocketed. In addition, he's written for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Onion, GQ, The Guardian, Salon.com, and countless other widely read publications. Savage is recognized as someone whose opinions about our culture, politics, and society should not only be listened to but taken seriously.
Now, in American Savage, he writes on topics ranging from marriage, parenting, and the gay agenda to the Catholic Church, sex education, and the obesity epidemic.
©2013 Dan Savage (P)2013 Penguin Audio
Damn, I had no idea Dan Savage was such a good writer. I'm a weekly listener to his Savage Love podcast and reader of his column, but this was the first time I've read/heard one of his personal essays, and they were very powerful. I sobbed my way through his essay about his mother's death, for example.
Other chapters, however, were rote and predictable to those familiar with his work. Some of the lines he uses I could recite word for word. You should roll your kinks out like they're a fun thing you get to do, not like they're *what*, kids? Let's say it all together now. Leukemia! His thoughts on cheating, open relationships, why women shouldn't be offended that he refers to pussy as "canned ham dropped from a great height" (still offensive no matter how much you like canned ham) are nothing new for regular readers or listeners.
Yet the new chapters were strong enough that I still think this book deserves four stars. In addition to the essay about his mom's death, the essay about going back to the Catholic church — at least physically — is poignant and insightful. The chapter about the It Gets Better project is interesting as well as brutally sad. I learned some new stuff in the health care chapter (for instance, I will never eat at Jimmy John's again). And last but certainly not least, Bigot Christmas is almost worth the price of the book alone.
YES YES YES! I plan to listen to this again. In fact, I plan to buy his other audio books, narrated by him. First, Savage is an eloquent and witty writer who makes his points clearly and thoroughly. I don't always agree with him, but I always find him worth listening to. I generally do agree with him and I find listening to his writing gives me food for thought and new ideas in developing my own world view.
Second, his narration is amazing. I could listen to a grocery list if he read it and feel soothed. He has an amazing voice and listening to him read his own work only makes what is great material even better.
I would say that hearing David Sedaris reading his own work or Tina Fey read her own work come closest to this book for me - not because they are similar but because all three of these authors as narrators make me so happy. They are so wonderful to listen to. Their own narration adds so much to the written word, enhancing it and making the words so much richer.
Everything. Truly. I love his timing, his voice, his pronouncation, his laugh, everything.
Many many parts of the book are moving. However, the most moving part was a story of his mother's last moments. I had heard this before on This American Life, slightly different. Even having heard that, even having cried for this moment before, even knowing what was coming, I had to work hard hold myself together. If I would have been driving, I would have had to pull over because I wouldn't have been safe to drive. I was walking in to work and it took everything I had to not break down sobbing in the building lobby.
Dan, if you ever read this - thank you so much for taking your time to write this book and then narrate it. Your work makes my vanilla little life richer. Thank you.
Dan Savage is a polarizing kind of guy, he’s one of the bogeymen for the religious and political right, a leading LGBT rights activist and tireless campaigner for marriage equality. He’s also a funny, clever enormously readable and (a characteristic quite rare nowadays) wise writer. This well written and frequently quite moving book will likely particular appeal to certain constituents.
If you are GGG with the whole LGBT marriage equality message this book is a handy guide to your positions and arguments. If you are a Fox News aficionado who thinks that women should not have control over their own reproductive health and two people of the same gender being married threatens your marriage then you may still find this book entertaining and it will give you something to shout at in the car.
Dan calls out the misogynist, homophobic, anti-science and bigoted vocal crowd led by Bachmann, Palin and Cruz one topic at a time. He gives the arguments for issues, many of which aren't even regarded as topics worthy of debate in the rest of the civilized world.
It’s a little depressing to hear the level of stupidity that Dan calls out and answers so succinctly. If you follow Savage Love (his excellent weekly podcast) you will be familiar with his brand of pithy and frequently very funny common sense, this is a must read for you. If you have seen Dan speaking on LGBT issues as the “Token Gay” on shows like Bill Mahr or even Fox News you might have noticed how approachable and funny he is. This book gives him room to explore and explain in much more depth but always with that wry good humor we have come to expect from him. This is a well thought through, well structured, well informed and enormously entertaining exploration of the social and political questions which most divide our country…if you care about these issues (from either side) you should read this book.
Well substantiated arguments.
Absolutely. He brings forward good arguments, current topics and an interesting perspective.
Yes. Some similar material.
An excellent attention grabber as it is. No need to change it.
Thanks Dan for putting yourself out there. Always food for thought.
No, but it was good the first time.
I loved when he moved on from his usual topic, to things of more substance.
He is so good at crafting a compelling argument! I loved the part of him having over for dinner, a person who so adamantly apposed his views to have the freedom to marry. I think it is so important to have dialogue! instead of being angry or mean to each other.
I love when Authors read their books, it is so impactful to the story. Hearing the pauses and inflection at just the moment it is intended is so wonderful!
Say something about yourself!
Fans of Dan Savage probably already know his opinion on a far range of subjects, as he is not one to hide his opinion. But this books details his opinion with nuance and details on not always provided to him in shorter formats.
Dan's book has some interesting anecdotes and stories, but it is more of an editorial than a biography. His views are thoughtful, and his tone is engaging. The book is a fun listen with Dan's original wit, humor and irreverence that people both love and hate him for.
I'd push this book on anyone who is not familiar with Dan Savage's writing-- but who should be! If you're a regular reader/ listener of his column/ podcast, well, it's a fine summary of his writings/ rantings over the past 5-10 years, and totally worth a listen for a (relatively) concise summary of his more poignant points, and astute perspectives.
Strong, honest, and illuminating. Because this book is all three.
This book makes me a fan of Dan Savage, who I've read in passing. This man is honest and has a wonderful view of the BIG picture.
Author brings himself to the offering.
I portioned this out.
This book is a snapshot of humanity.
Wonderful listen! Savage's witty style never lets you down.
I loved the essay "Rick and Me"
As one who agrees with almost every point Savage makes in his essays, he reads too fast , too loud. Some of his bitchy asides leave a harsh and nasty aftertaste. In print, the essays probably seem more moderate. But then, Savage wants to be anything but moderate. Okay, okay, I get it. Embrace change. Move forward. Let me out of here.
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