Angel 's Reviews > Dishwasher: One Man's Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States

Dishwasher by Pete Jordan
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's review
Apr 14, 11

it was ok
bookshelves: biography-and-memoir, foods-and-epicurious, pop-culture
Read from March 28 to April 14, 2011 , read count: 1

As the rating says, the book was pretty much ok. After a while, I did just scan some parts. The book is really a mixed bag. There are some moments that are interesting in terms of the places his travels and the look at how food service work operates. But on the other hand, there are moments as well you may not want to eat out again given the condition of some places he has worked at (though that is not so bad). What can be grinding is the fact that basically the author is a lazy slacker with minimal motivation (I will leave it to the readers to find out if he finishes quest or not). And to be honest, he does have some degree of dubious ethics that can make one wonder if all dishwashers are that way, or just the other slackers he worked with in his travels.

As for this book falling in the category of "stunt books" (books where someone does something quirky, odd, unusual, so on for some period of time, often a year), this is likely not the best example. I think in terms of appeal, this may appeal to readers who have read books by authors like Anthony Bourdain, except Bourdain has a much better way with words. Jordan is a fairly average writer to put it nicely. So, overall, this is a book to borrow, not buy.

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Reading Progress

03/29/2011 page 11
3.0% "Anecdote in school nun telling him that wanting to be a house painter when he grew up was not lofty enough. Made me think, how often do parents and teachers fail to realistically encourage their kids?"
03/29/2011 page 11
3.0% "Same page: Story of his father as good worker: "He was always on time, worked without complaining and was the model employee. But those who got ahead, it seemed, were the bullshitters and the backstabbers. Being a good employee counted for little" Who said life was fair. Very familiar story."
03/29/2011 page 24
6.0% "Turns out dishwashing not so bad after all. Why it was considered punishment at that second college job puzzling to the author (and to me, and yes, I have done a share of dishes here and there)."
03/29/2011 page 42
11.0% "Interesting so far, but the author's basic slacker attitude (and I mean in a lazy sort of way) does get annoying. How he manages to get employed for any amount of time seems a miracle. How he got enough motivation (which he seriously seems to lack) to write the book is puzzling. We'll see, maybe it will get better."
03/29/2011 page 52
14.0% "And he finds the calling to go wash dishes in all 50 states. Just took some bumps along the way to figure it out."
03/29/2011 page 56
15.0% "And with the help of Jeff the dishman, our hero learns a thing or two about dishes, zines, and even Orwell. He has been initiated and time to go on the journey."
04/05/2011 page 99
26.0% "On having to actually interview for a dish job: "It made no sense. If her house had been on fire and someone arrived in fireman's gear raring to put it out, she wouldn't have stopped and asked him where he saw himself in five years. She'd get the hell out of the way and let the pro do his job." And by the way, this is an issue in librarianship too, though not popular to say so."
04/05/2011 page 118
31.0% "At the Chinese rest. in Mississippi, of all places. The owners do not come out in a positive light."
04/11/2011 page 132
34.0% "Fails to dish in New Orleans. Not surprising given all the warnings he got about it (they hire Blacks for dishing in New Orleans no matter what). Heading to Little Rock, AR."
04/12/2011 page 158
41.0% "Finishing up the Northwest tour, and he is really liking Portland."
04/12/2011 page 172
45.0% "Finished chapter on the Letterman show stunt. On the one hand, somewhat amusing. On the other, he did do some deception. But having said that, Letterman and his staff certainly showed a serious lack of humor."
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