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Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
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Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  286 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Is it possible to find humor -- corrosive, taboo-shattering, laugh-till-you-cry humor -- in the story of a 38-year-old- cartoonist who's both a quadriplegic and a recovering alcoholic? The answer is yes, if the cartoonist is John Callahan -- whose infamous work has graced the pages of Omni, Penthouse, and The New Yorker -- and if he's telling it in his own words and pictur ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 14th 1990 by Vintage (first published 1989)
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(showing 1-30)
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Todd N
Nov 15, 2007 Todd N rated it it was amazing
I was very sad to hear that John Callahan had passed away last month. His great memoir of his struggles with alcoholism and becoming quadriplegic was still on my main bookshelf, having survived the great Book Purge of 2003 when I moved to Palo Alto, so I reread it in tribute to the man.

You have probably seen Mr. Callahan's cartoons at least once in your life. They are somewhat crudely drawn (on purpose, by the way), generally deal with handicapped people, and make you laugh despite knowing that
Apr 10, 2007 Erin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
this book was recommended to me by a friend of mine in college. it's the autobiography of the controversial/offensive/hilarious comic john callahan, from adoption to addiction to disability. it not only looks at his disability as it relates to society as a whole, but it also points out day to day challenges that not many "able bodied" people would think about. it's pretty raw, but i appreciated his honesty and the cartoons (though not for the faint of heart) are pretty damn funny.
Jul 25, 2010 Nicole rated it really liked it
I'm sorry that I didn't find this book until just after Callahan's recent passing, but glad that I found it at all. I'd certainly seen a few of his cartoons, but knew nothing of the complex personality behind them. A deceptively slim volume for the amount of misery and hilarity crammed into it (plus it has pictures!). Fragrantly foul and purely honest, and funny, funny, funny.
Rob Charpentier
Apr 18, 2014 Rob Charpentier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rob by: Mark L. Kidd
John Callahan was a gloriously disturbed individual as well as exceptionally funny human being. However, his life was almost nothing but tragedy and misfortune, much of it could be said to have been brought upon himself but somewhat understandably so considering his history.

Callahan was adopted by an Irish Catholic couple that believed they could not have children and then proceeded to miraculously have 8 children of their own. Consequently, John literally became the proverbial redheaded stepch
Garrett Zecker
Jan 01, 2015 Garrett Zecker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don’t Worry... is the troubling, emotional, and evocative autobiography of the shock-cartoonist John Callahan wrote at thirty-nine about his accident, alcoholism, and life leading to his career as a cartoonist.

For whatever reason, I was expecting something completely different than what I got with this book, and was more shocked at the complete honesty and depressing series of events that seemingly followed him throughout his life and eventually led to the dark gallows humor of his life’s work.
Sep 05, 2007 Tracey rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a straight-shooting autobiography with a little black humor around the edges
Shelves: no-longer-owned
I'm not sure where I picked up Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot: The Autobiography of a Dangerous Man but I imagine the title caught my eye, then I realized it was by John Callahan, one of my favorite sick cartoonists [].

The first chapter leads us up to the accident that left him as a quadriplegic; he was out partying with a friend who was driving while very, very drunk. "Dexter had mistaken a Con Edison pole for an exit and had run straight into in a
Oct 11, 2009 Clint rated it it was amazing
This is a sick, twisted, offensive, hilarious, and ultimately, poignant book. It was supposed to be made into a movie with Robin Williams some time ago, but unfortunately, it was never made. Author John Callahan is a cartoonist who, through his own admitted stupidity, became a quadriplegic at age 21 after a drunken night of partying and driving led to a tragic car wreck. Among other subjects (including his alcoholism and his fight to beat it), Callahan addresses the car wreck in great detail in ...more
Jul 09, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing
The traditional narrative about someone suffering a debilitating accident has the victim becoming stronger, braver, kinder, and more accomplished; going on to win athletic completions, taking up painting. Superman becomes a mensch and an advocate. This is not that story. Callahan does not try to become the poster child for quadriplegics, he just carries on, much as he had before. He gets angry and annoyed and he still find absurdity amusing. I prefer this kind of story. For a similar memoir, try ...more
Jan 25, 2016 Christy rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
His recent death made me want to read about how he got started cartooning. I enjoyed reading this for both Callahan's sense of humor (admittedly a little sick) and for his insights in being both a quadraplegic and an alcoholic. He makes light of it, but what an inner strength he must have had to get through this. Makes you wonder if you could do it...
Dec 18, 2016 Jsrott rated it liked it
Callahan's story fits into three acts- angry young drunk, quadriplegic recovering alcoholic, and deranged but wiser cartoonist. I can't imagine what got left out of his story. It's especially relevant in that the experiences he describes with his quadriplegia, getting decent help and fighting for financial assistance in an era of conservative government that is only too happy to slash welfare benefits for the most needy in favor of tax cuts for the least needy is going to be the story (again) fo ...more
Carye Bye
Oct 29, 2012 Carye Bye rated it really liked it
Shelves: hidden-portland
Very approachable honest book about callahan by callahan. Instead of being more integrated longer story, he naturally separates his story into sections of Drinking/Youth, Recovery/Being Quad, and Cartooning/Work with some illustrations, comics spread throughout

Since moving to Portland in 2001 I got to know Callahans comics and humor in his one box comic published in the weekly. They were very much in your face, too honest, sometimes embarrassing -- but funny, almost always funny. I didn't know
May 29, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it
I've been a fan of Callahan's cartoons for a long time and remember when he was being published in Willamette Week. This book is fascinating in its gritty realism and stark descriptions of daily life when you require help to do just about anything.

Less compelling, however, were Callahan's portrayals of the AA culture and his (justifiable) rants at the welfare system. I personally found the most touching moments in the book had to do with Callahan's search for his birth parents and coming to ter
Apr 12, 2011 Philip rated it really liked it
Funny, but often with dark humor, story about the late cartoonist John Callahan's descent into alcoholism and welfare and his ascent to sobriety and productivity. The journey is a compelling one because he becomes a quadriplegic while driving drunk, so medical problems, embarrassment and discomfort become his daily companions. The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous figure prominently in the book, as they should. There is no better advertising for AA! He also offers incredible insight into nurs ...more
Oct 17, 2007 Stephy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People in Recovery
Shelves: autobiography
AS Drunkalogs go, this is a fine job, with some humor to it. John came out of an automobile accident parlyzed. He was someone who managed his psychological and physical pain with alcohol. He drank a lot. He tells many funny stories about it. He made it sound almost fun. Being drunk is highly over-rated. Finally he wakes up, and the story gets more readable, and he claims himself and his life back from the booze. It is a heart-wrenching first person story about how drunken driver and drunk drivin ...more
Bones Kendall
Nov 10, 2012 Bones Kendall rated it really liked it
Callahan tells a great story. He applies his comic wit to the first-person literary memoir, fully conscious of the genre.

Some cartoons are included. I only wish more had.

His self-awareness is probably due to the fact that he is educated. He worked hard for it, sure. His partial paralysis was caused by an accident due to self-admittedly risky behavior.

Dark time eventually is vanquished -- this is an epic tale.

Callahan is not a victim and he is willing to share with brutal honesty his reality. It
Jul 25, 2016 Lora rated it really liked it
As I noted at the time, this book is subtitled "The autobiography of a dangerous man" and I could easily see it being made into a film. A car accident left him a quadriplegic, he struggled with alcoholism and was searching for his biological parents, but he tried to avoid self-pity (quoting AA: "Self-pity is like wetting your pants in the winter, a very warm feeling for a very short time). He was also a cartoonist with a biting sense of humor.
Sep 08, 2013 Keri rated it really liked it
Really great read. I have loved Callahan's cartoons/humor for years, but had no idea he had such an inspirational story of recovery. It's pretty difficult to complain about your own trivial stuff when you read about his life as a quadriplegic, and his ability of get sober and create a pretty great life for himself. His writing is honest and is devoid of cliche or self pity. I wish he was till around.
Jun 06, 2011 Cyanemi rated it it was amazing
I found this on my Dad's bookshelf. This is the autobiographical story of a man who became a quadraplegic and then a fairly well known cartoonist. Unfortunately my Father discovered him after his death in 2010. Some of his cartoons are hysterical and some are just awful. His story was very inspirational
Tymber Dalton
John Callahan has written a darkly funny and brutally honest book about his experiences that blows stereotypical attitudes out of the water. As the mother of a child in a wheelchair, I can relate to so much of what he's written, laugh with a lot of his dark humor, and wish this was required reading for everyone.
Jan 03, 2013 Max rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 29, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, autobiography, ill
This book is one way to make sure you are more appreciative of your life. In a hilarious, raw and incredibly honest way, John Callahan tells the story of his life, including how he ended up in a wheel chair, recovered from alcoholism and dealt with welfare. Great personal story with embarrassingly enjoyable cartoons.
Ruth Anne
Jun 10, 2010 Ruth Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-reads
This was a re-read after many years, and I still like his story. It's funny and smart-*ssed and irreverent and sick. So are his cartoons. But if you aren't afraid to admit you like it, he writes like a friend we all know. I found myself re-reading it after recommending it to someone (who I plan to loan it to).
Mar 22, 2012 Jay rated it really liked it
My rating of this book is based on reading it as a youth and feeling connected to disability culture.
I don't have many memories about specifics, but I do appreciate much of the author's humor, as well as occasional discomfort. I miss his presence in our world as a counterbalance to a particular kind of ableism that treats lived experience of disability as too fragile for social commentary.
Nov 22, 2008 Wendy rated it liked it
This was our book club read for this month. While it is R rated for sure, it is an interesting autobiography of John Callahan, a neurotic, quadriplegic alcoholic turned cartoonist. It's an interesting book with some insight into the problems of our health care and welfare systems.
Mar 05, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, faves
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2008 Matt added it
I love this book. I need to get this John Callahan's other books even though I haven't read them, I'm so confident that they'll be hilarious. It reminds me a lot of (If I may make a television reference here.) South Park and Family Guy, that level of deliberatly being offensive.
Cynde Moya
Jul 31, 2011 Cynde Moya rated it it was amazing
Combines my reading interests in first-person drug stories and first-person disability tales. Plus it's incredibly funny. I read it again and again and am always sorry when it's over.
Laura Siegel
Oct 06, 2011 Laura Siegel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography-memoir
A very funny and personal account by this quadriplegic who employs dark humor about disabilities his cartoons. Honest and vibrant writing to the core.
Oct 30, 2008 Bronwen rated it really liked it
The amazing and slightly self-deprecating memoir of a cartoonist who became quadriplegic from his own alcoholism and lived to draw about it.
Jun 15, 2008 Liz rated it liked it
It was interesting to learn about the life of a quadriplegic especially one that lives in my neighborhood. This guy has been through things that most of us could never imagine.
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Shepherd Center B...: June 22 - Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot 1 1 Oct 13, 2016 05:54AM  
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John Callahan was a cartoonist who often drew on his struggles (he was a paraplegic and recovering alcoholic) for his humor.
More about John Callahan...

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