• American Savage

  • Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics
  • By: Dan Savage
  • Narrated by: Dan Savage
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,190 ratings)

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American Savage

By: Dan Savage
Narrated by: Dan Savage
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Publisher's Summary

Celebrated sex advice columnist and founder of the Emmy-winning It Gets Better campaign, Dan Savage delivers “powerful messages for both the head and heart” (Entertainment Weekly).

From the moment he began writing his syndicated sex-advice column, "Savage Love", Dan Savage has never been shy about expressing his opinion on controversial topics - political or otherwise. In the height of his activism, he addresses issues ranging from parenting and the gay agenda to the Catholic Church and health care. Among them:

  • Why straight people should have straight “pride” parades, too
  • Why Obamacare, as good as it is, is “still kinda evil”
  • Why what passes for sex-ed in America is more like “sex dread”
  • Why the Bible is “only as good and decent as the person reading it” 

Speaking to a broad range of subjects with brutal honesty and irreverent humor, American Savage is a pivotal piece that cements Dan Savage’s place as a provocative and insightful voice in American culture.

©2013 Dan Savage (P)2013 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic Reviews

"America’s most in-your-face sex columnist and gay-rights activist comes out swinging in these pugnacious, hilarious essays.... Underneath Savage’s scabrous, bomb-throwing exterior beats the heart of a softie." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"An extraordinarily personal, deeply felt book about traditional marriage, authentic and healthy religion and a traditional sex life." (The Washington Post)

"Savage's essays on fatherhood, cheating, and the subset of Americans, in American Savage, who still think sexuality is a choice are powerful messages for both the head and the heart." (Entertainment Weekly)

What listeners say about American Savage

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

You will laugh, you may cry and will probably fume

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.

13 people found this helpful

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Savage is an Amazing Writer and Narrator

Would you listen to American Savage again? Why?

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.

What other book might you compare American Savage to and why?

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.

What about Dan Savage’s performance did you like?

Everything. Truly. I love his timing, his voice, his pronouncation, his laugh, everything.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

8 people found this helpful

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Didn't expect it to be THAT good!

Informative, touching and witty.
I loved this book and even thinking now about subscribing to his podcast.
Dan's story and reasoning are exceptional and simple.

1 person found this helpful

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Biased much?

Dan Savage can do no wrong! I'm an avid follower of his podcast, I love his take on relationships and sex, so maybe, I'm just a little bit biased. But who cares, right?

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Some great essays, but a bit repetitive

Any additional comments?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

a great summary of Savage's recent work

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Excellent narration, good writing, but ...

... most of the subject matter were MSNBC TV rewrites (Rachel Maddow and company). The best part by far was about his mother and the next best about his relationship with his husband. The worst was the advice given to straight couples about this or that, who cares! I'll say one thing, the man can narrate and yes, write. Try your hand at a gay romance novel Dan ... oh, I forgot, you barely like to write. Oh well.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Essays with humor

Regular listeners of Dan Savage's podcast, or readers of his column or twitter feed will not be surprised by anything they hear in this book. But what they will find is a deeper version of his favorite rants. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I found that the arguments presented are so much fuel for those of us who agree with Savage about the LGBT rights movement, birth control access, and healthcare in this country. He also sets the record straight on a couple of items, including the santorum definition and its origins that newer readers may not know. And for regular listeners to the podcast, the fact that Dan reads it himself is an added bonus.

1 person found this helpful

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No focus. Two many unrelated topics.

The first few chapters are good, where he enlightens us to social issues about sex from a gay man's perspective. But in later chapters, he diverges to unrelated topics where his highly-opinionated rants would annoy anybody who doesn't totally agree with him. On the topic of euthanasia, he bored me with endless details about his mother's death. Just because his mother's death was important to him doesn't make it important to strangers like me who never knew his mother. At times, the author rambles on with nonessential discussion, as if he has nothing to say but needs to write more, anyway, so as to have enough to complete a book.

1 person found this helpful

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Engaging

If you could sum up American Savage in three words, what would they be?

A regular person.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Dan's story of his mother.

What about Dan Savage’s performance did you like?

Usually authors are not the best person to read their books but Dan hits it out of the ballpark.

Any additional comments?

A book that makes you really try to treat each person with more humanity.

1 person found this helpful