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Committed: A Rabble-Rouser's Memoir

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  281 ratings  ·  49 reviews
"Committed" is a bold, offbeat, globe-trotting memoir that shows how the most ridiculed punching bag in high school became an internationally renowned crusader for the most downtrodden individuals of all -- animals. This irresistibly entertaining book recounts the random incidents and soul-searching that inspired a reluctant party boy to devote his life to a cause, without ...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by Atria Books (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-reviews
Even though I support PETA, I've always sort of rolled my eyes at their over-the-top protesting stunts. Dan Mathews, the author of this book, is the brains behind these campaigns, and he does a good job in arguing in favor of the silly and outrageous. I'm still not sure if I agree, but no matter. He gives a glimpse into the early beginnings of PETA, how he became a vegan and also recounts a mid-1980s interview he did with "Meat is Murder" singer Morrissey, who I absolutely love, love, love and ...more
May 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm in love with this book. the author's sense of humor actually somewhat endears me to PETA's antics, and very much endears me to the author himself. In particular, as someone hailing from the "beef belt," I commend anyone with the moxie to dress as a carrot in front of a midwestern school holding a sign that says "eat vegetables, not your friends" while kids throw bologna in counter-protest. I'm interviewing Dan Matthews this Wednesday and don't want to spoil anything, so I'll add a full ...more
Jared Vincent Lacaran
I'm not a vegetarian, nor do I support PETA. I think they're all crazy and should be nuked. I just picked up this book randomly, so I didn't know at first that the author was the VP of PETA. I only reached page 34 'cause my uncle made me stop reading this. IDK why but I guess, like the rest of the world, he just hates PETA so much. I can't blame him. Those asses at PETA are gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide. The world would be better off if we just force fed them radioactive ...more
Tammy BayAreaVeg
May 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vegan
This was a lively and engaging read, despite the serious topics that Mathews talks about (animal abuse, animal rights, his struggles growing up and finding himself), it's sprinkled with fun antecdotes, thrift store shopping finds, and lots of celebrity name dropping throughout.

He sounds like a zany character who lives life with passion and compassionate commitment. I think we could all do with a bit more of that.

Jan 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2008
It took me a long time to read this one because I cannot deal with animal cruelty and Matthews goes into detail about the sort of things that he, as a member of PETA, has tried to prevent over the past decade or so. This book is the reason I stopped eating meat.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
"Committed: A Rabble-Rouser's Memoir" is unlike any animal-rights book I've read.

Written by 24-year PETA employee Dan Mathews, it chronicles his life from a bullied child through his escapades with the animal-rights group.

Instead of detailing the various atrocities animals face, though, the book's style is comedic. Mathews has a cheesy, un-PC sense of humor. After he lost his virginity in Rome in his only foray into prostitution, he thought, "I'm here to study history and this is the world's
Lyndsey Page
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic memoir! It's told with so much humour and includes so many personal stories that I think it appeals to a much broader range of people than just vegans or animal rights activists. The memoir explores Dan's life as a child when his appreciation and respect for animals started to take shape and includes select stories from his time organizing news generating protests with PETA. While there are gruesome details involving industries like wool, fur and factory farming it's ...more
Dec 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 3 days, which says a lot, considering I am a very slow reader. I had my reservations about Dan's book because of the several comments - on the front of the book and in some of your reviews- comparing him to David Sedaris. It's like anyone who writes a comical memoir these days is automatically compared to Sedaris, and I'm over it. If that makes me vastly unpopular, I don't really care.

But back to Dan...I'm in love with him. This book makes me want to move to Virgina just so I
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very engaging story of a PETA activist who seems to be an all-around good guy. It seems like it's very rare to get to know (through a book) a handsome guy with fabulous friends and family (loved that his mom just up and decided to change her name) and a cooler job than any of us will ever have, yet he's not a complete asshole. You'll want to go on some fabulous road trip with him. And for the squeamish among you there's enough information to make you question some of your choices (as well as ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dan Mathews is one of the greatest! The work he has done and the awareness he has raised is astronomical. He has essentially paved the way for so many activists out there today. This book is an awesome look into the world of an even more awesome individual. Mathews lays it all out and candidly walks you through his awkward years, experimental stages, and his exceptional work with PETA. Great read!
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
The memoirs of Dan Mathews, vegetarian gay animal activist who helps bring PETA campaigns into the national spotlight. As a fellow animal rights supporter, I've often cringed to hear about what ridiculous thing PETA has been up to. After reading this I got a better understanding about why they pull their provocative stunts. Aside from his animal rights work, the book is hilarious and hard to put down. Great job, Mr. Mathews!
Aurelia D'andrea
Oct 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I started this yesterday and am halfway through. I can't believe it took me so long. (I've been carrying this around for nearly 3 years.) Mathews is funny as hell in a smart, gay, animal-rightsy sort of way, and he's got great life-experience material to draw from. He really captures that distinct sense of a southern california upbringing, and I love that I'm able to relate to a lot of the feelings of being "different" that he expresses. Can't wait to finish this sucker!
Jul 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology, politics
Lots of fun stories from Dan Mathews, who's worked for PETA for many years. He's a funny guy and has had many unique experiences. The last chapter about his current life was the only disappointing part of the book - he's seems to be better at finding the humor in things that happened 5+ years ago. Still I recommend it.
Lauren Read
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars both in terms of being a driving inspiration and of being wildly entertaining. Dan's tale is so unique yet so accessible, illustrating the power of will and the exercise of passion. The writing is quite engaging and humorous, with each chapter seeing through a particular story rather than being strictly chronological. Like PETA, a winner!
Jun 19, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was interesting to read but I think he forgot to write a conclusion. I turned the page on the train expecting more and there wasn't anymore. I checked twice. How sad.
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
He worked at Disneyland AND was a prostitute. Nice!
Dave Metge
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Dan Matthews was a member/employee of PETA and partly responsible for
a bunch of over-the-top demonstrations (ie, C Klein, NIH labs, Harvard, etc) taking on the food or clothing industries.
1. A bit of a tough read but gives a behind the scenes view of PETA's early mind-set interspersed with autobiographical vignettes from Matthew's childhood and early teens.

2. Gained a bit of a different view of PETA's tactics and mindset. Over the late 1980's & early 90's, I had come to view them as a
Jan 12, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a fun and light read from the mastermind behind many of PETA's most unusual and headline-grabbing protests. Although the group's stunts often leave many animal rights supporters cringing for the impression they create of our cause, PETA has obviously found success because of them. Mathews explains the philosophy behind the demonstrations that have found the author dressed as a carrot, a priest, and sometimes wearing nothing at all. (I'm still not fully convinced that such stunts further ...more
Catherine Kelaher
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Dan Mathews is Campaign Chief for PETA. He comes up with many of their headline grabbing protests and as such has a lot of exciting stories to tell. The book is very entertaining, fun and witty throughout with positive and upbeat experiences in animal rights showing that it is possible to deal with such overwhelming issues with humour and still help to bring about change.
I know some animal activists take issue with the way PETA do things, but this book will provide you with some insight into
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: activism
I was actually quite disappointed by this book. I got it thinking it would be more of the activism stuff. Mostly it was about the people the author has met along the way. The first several chapters were just about the author's history and life as a boy/young man. I just felt that the author was trying to impress us with who he has rubbed elbows with and which celebrities call him friend. Some activism was thrown in to the mix. I am glad that this was a pretty short easy read so that it didn't ...more
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Memoir of animal rights activist and P.E.T.A. vice president, Dan Mathews. Very fun, quick-witted, and inspiring. He is like a vegetarian David Sedaris. Highlights include his travels around the world, protesting with Chrissy Hynde and Pamela Anderson, storming Calvin Klein's headquarters in NYC to stop him from using fur, being arrested, committed to a mental hospital in France, and driving to the beach to watch a hurricane with his mom. Highly recommended.
May 15, 2007 rated it liked it
"...All people have a sadistic side- it just bubbles to the surface in some more than others, and worsens when a child is never taught empathy. "Boys will be boys," parents often say. Many kids grow out of it, but the dimmer ones grow up and compensate for low self-esteem by striking out at whomever they can most easily exert power over, whether its a wife, kids, prisoners or animals." ....Dan Matthews writes an amazing memoir.
Jun 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: not just vegetarians
Memoirs of a gay vegetarian. Mathews's wit and self-mockery stands on its own, but he has a clear purpose beyond that: to spread awareness about animal rights. Whether you agree or not, after reading this book you will understand a vegetarian's creed. Includes cameos from some of our favorite celebrities.
Kristy Hare
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Dan Mathews writes from an inside perspective of PETA. (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals). He worked as a Receptionist and rose to Vice-President. He shares, his trials, experiences and successes while working with PETA and explains thoroughly what they are about. The book really has no closure, just as the fight over animal abuse, also continues.
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Didn't really like this book. I found it more to be boast about all the famous people he knows rather than his life... it's memoir but no real mention of his life other than PETA and the famous people it's linked him to.
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: alissa
Great memoir! It was rather interesting to learn about a founding member of PETA and behind-the-scenes looks at what they have accomplished around the world, particularly considering the negativity they have recently received.
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining and seemingly light-hearted memoir with serious ethical and animal rights underpinnings.
Seriously reconsidering the choices I make in regards to supporting the meat (and other consumables from animals) industry through my diet and lifestyle.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a great book if you are interest in the PETA organization. It is about animal rights. It was suggested to me by my yoga instructors, and it is good to learn how and why peta was started. It is written by a gay, animal rights activist and it also talks about his struggles growing up.
Kristy Christensen
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not knowing what the book was about; I did not think I would like it, with the title. . but, it was awesome. I am a Vegetarian and an animal rights activist. I hope to find a group around here that I can join and take part in.
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