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At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,612 ratings  ·  306 reviews
We all dream it.
Wade Rouse actually did it.

Finally fed up with the frenzy of city life and a job he hates, Wade Rouse decided to make either the bravest decision of his life or the worst mistake since his botched Ogilvie home perm: to uproot his life and try, as Thoreau did some 160 years earlier, to "live a plain, simple life in radically reduced conditions."

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Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Broadway Books (first published June 2nd 2009)
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,612 ratings  ·  306 reviews

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Stephany Wilkes
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't decide which rating to give this book (three or four stars?), but I had to go with four because it made me laugh out loud so many times (much to the chagrin of the husband falling asleep beside me).

I have a problem with books in that I desire something besides the usually depressing nonfiction (politics, industrial food, proliferation of toxins, social injustice, general environmental devastation) and fiction (Russian novelists, early American women writers, black literature, social
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Believe it or not, Wade was once a rural boy. But he was a GAY rural boy and got tired of being teased, picked on and harassed…or simply not having a place that served a decent latte. So he ran to the city, got himself a boyfriend and all the Starbucks coffee he could drink.

Now, years later, he feels less than fulfilled. He’s busy but he’s not happy. He loves the city but he can’t stand his job. So he’s going to be like Thoreau and simplify his needs. He wants peace and quiet to think and figur
Sep 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wade Rouse is a racist douchebag who is so full of himself I'm surprised he has room for his boyfriend's dick.

And what particularly bugs me is I was really looking forward to reading this book when I picked it up. Ever since Matthew (and if you don't know which Matthew, I will hurt you), I've been obsessed with gays in rural areas and small towns.

But Rouse is so freaking obnoxious I found myself hoping he'd get eaten by one of the wild animals roaming around his property.

Dig this gem: "A large p
Patrick Gibson
"Misadventures" of a man who hits 40 with a resounding thud and resolves to uproot his life, quit his job and leave the city, cable, culture and consumerism behind in order to move to a knotty-pine cottage in the middle of the Michigan woods to recreate a modern-day Walden. The memoir chronicles ultimate urbanite Wade and his partner, Gary, as they embrace 10 Life Lessons -- sort of a City/Country Smackdown -- based on trying to achieve a simpler life but also rooted in the tenets of Walden (thi ...more
Jan 01, 2014 marked it as didn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Read any other 1 or 2 star review and they've got it covered. The only thing I can add is that if you think St. Louis is some hustling and bustling big city, maybe you should try Chicago or New York. I've been to downtown St. Louis and in surrounding neighborhoods and felt like I was in a ghost town at times. I don't really see how much of a change it would be to go from St. Louis to Sagatauk, Mi. At least not the world shattering change he acts that it was.
Laurie Dickey
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s not really a four star book, but I really enjoyed it. Two gay men move from big city life to the wilds of Michigan. You can imagine. It really is pretty funny. I had many lol moments. The author is adorable. Good writing. He writes sort of like my good friend Kat Spitzer!
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. He is certainly no David Sedaris, no matter how hard he tries. And, if it's a true self-narrative, he is not that likeable.
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
The author chronicles the first months after having moved with his partner from St. Louis to a cottage in rural Michigan just outside the gay-friendly resort town of Saugatuck. The pages are filled with witty prose in short segments that extoll how a gay couple uproot their lives and transition from an urbane life to a more rural, and hopefully, improved existence. I sought this book based on a recommendation from a friend. It appealed to me because of the humor in hearing of a gay couple moving ...more
Fabulously gay PR exec moves from the big city to the woods of Michigan in order to write a book. Extreme culture shock ensues. In a funny way.

I picked up this book after reading a positive review in a magazine. It's a memoir and the writer, Wade, is one of those infectiously high-spirited and amusing people that you like even when they're being really self-absorbed and kind of annoying. Wade is one of those gay guys who is in love with his own stereotype. He lives for fab parties, designer clot
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I have NO idea where I happened to hear of this book, but it's been sitting on my to-read list for quite a while, so I decided to check it out from the library. It is subtitled, "Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life", and was actually very well written. I think it would have been improved if it were about 100 pages shorter, though.

Wade Rouse is gay, and very proud of it. And very proud of his tank tops, lip balm, choker necklaces, etc., etc. He grew up in the Ozarks, and could hardly wait
Wade Rouse's writing style is so hyperbolized I didn't believe most of the book. I kinda feel like he knew this because sometimes he actually attached phrases like "I swear this actually happened" to the end of a story where woodland creatures gang up on him in his yard and he stumbles over a raccoon dog toy trying to get back into the house.

The only time I didn't feel this way was during the chapter based on religion. He skirted the shallow and stereotypical gay Spoiled Brat voice and actually
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
Now look. I don't care how much your grandma liked Thoreau or how absurdly citified you are, Saugatuck ( ) is not the wilderness. And Saugatuck aside, the characterization of Michigan got my back up a little bit, since he basically used it as a casual synonym for "howling redneck wasteland/Siberia." We are not without our rednecks but I'd say, first, that Michigan is about a demographically varied a state as there is, and, second, that our howling wilderness is ...more
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wade Rouse is my new favorite author and this is the book that started it all. I picked this up because I could identify with the title. Rural areas have always scared the crap out of me, conjuring up images of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre house. This book was laugh out loud funny from the get go- so hilarious that I actually just used the phrase "laugh out loud funny." His voice and his timing are excellent and really make the book hard to put down. I found myself frequently reading excerpts to ...more
Dec 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, glbtq, nonfiction
Charming book. I read a bit of it in October before I had to put it down for the month of November to work on my own book. Picked it up again December 1st and laughed my way through it.

I really don't know how to explain this in a way that will do it justice. A gay man and his partner move from the city to the middle of nowhere and try to survive without the luxuries that they had been used to. All the misadventures are hilarious as they battle with nature, the snow, and each other.

The only part
Aug 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While perhaps not the most perfect book in a literary sense, I found this book hugely entertaining--more cheeseburgers and fries for the brain (thank you, Mrs. Miller). An urban gay couple moves to the dune 'n' orchard country of southwestern Michigan, so that the author can attempt a recreation of Thoreau's Walden Pond experiment. It is full of delightful language (read: profanity) and colorful stories of raccoon attacks, country driving habits, and trips to the local feed store amongst more... ...more
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: at-home-read
My favorite genre to read is memoir and Wade Rouse is my favorite memoirist yet! He made me laugh, cry, laugh even harder, think, feel, laugh until I cried, and think some more. He's a wonderful writer and a giving teacher - I can't put a monetary value on how much he has given me through his writing and his workshops and book signings. I highly recommend this writer and any opportunity you have to meet him!
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-read
Rouse is hilarious and self-deprecating about being a stereotypical city-loving gay man in the middle of "Wade's Walden" as he attempts to try simplifying his life (ala Walden.) I laughed out loud in public places but also appreciated his attempts to grow while he was there as well as be honest about ways he may not be changing as much as he thinks (cynicism from the city etc.)

Loved it enough to buy another one of his books while I was still reading this one. :-)
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
So I pick up this book not knowing anything about the author (or read anything previous from him) and I have been laughing my @$$ off, if you like your humor raw and uncompromising this book is hilarious about a gay man living Thourea's dream. Wade keeps a score card on living the simple life and well it's pure entertainment.
Aug 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, Wade Rouse is who I want David Sedaris to be. Almost as funny, less edgy, but just adorable. He moves from the city to a cabin outside of Saugatuck and gives up Dolce and Gabana for chipmunks and Thoreau. The descriptions of Michigan's critters, winters, and people alone are worth it!! I was praying I'd run into him in Saugatuck last week, but no such luck.
Kim D
I wanted to like this book. And I tried. There are so many "city dweller/fish out of water" stories that were told better, and told without the constant reminders that the author is 1 - gay, 2 - a fashionista, 3 - desperate to remake himself as a modern-day Thoreau-by-the-beach, and 4 - a whiny, candy-ass crybaby.

Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had such high hopes because this book started out so funny! The more I read the more uncomfortable I became because the author seems to be mean-spirited, judgmental, and SO full of himself. Skip this one.
Bill reilly
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wade Rouse had a Thoreau like aspiration to live in the wilderness to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. An encounter with an angry raccoon almost changed his mind. The furry little bandit was interrupted eating dinner from a garbage can when it attached its’ surprisingly strong claws onto Wade’s scalp. A breath mint spray into Rocky’s (Beatles) eyes saved our narrator from further harm. Wade’s grandmother had introduced him to Thoreau’s Walden. Rouse and his partner Gary decided to ...more
Jill Meyer
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm adding a 5 star review to Wade Rouse's ode to Thoreau and his Walden Pond experience. Rouse and his partner, Gary, moved from the city lights(?) of St Louis to the Saugatuck, Michigan rural area. Buying a cabin on four acres outside the city limits, both men made friends with animals, other people - both year-rounders and summer residents - and, themselves. Rouse writes with an often dead-panned wit that had me - queen of dead-pan wit lovers - often laughing out loud. Rouse is never - well, ...more
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, first, if you have an issue with gay lifestyle, don't bother reading, as there are a few things which might upset those opposed to the lifestyle. That said, this book has MANY LOL lines, paragraphs, and pages.

Next, if you don't choose to read the book I implore you to grab a copy in your format of choice and read the first few pages of the book where Wade does battle with raccoons when taking out the garbage where his only weapons are a tube of sparkly lip balm and some breath spray.

Laura Weir
Jan 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible. I was gifted this book and could barely get through it. As a fellow St. Louis native who has relocated to Michigan, I thought I would love this book. I like the premise of mirroring Walden in the Michigan outdoors but Rouse does a poor job capturing the beauty and spirit of the area. His nonstop shallowness is a huge turn off. Just do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Walden instead.
Estelle Usher
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a Great Read!

This is the first time I have read any of Wade Rouse ‘s books, and I just ordered another one from Amazon. This guy is hilarious- I found myself actually laughing out loud while reading this, and this hasn’t happened for me in a long time. He makes all his adventures very funny. In my opinion, if you like wit and great humour, you will love this book - if I could give it more than 5 stars, I would
Courtney Johnson
I was kind of disappointed in this book. I had looking forward to it for a while now in hopes it would make me laugh a bunch. It didn’t really.
Wade moves to the country when the city gets to be too much. Along the way he learns the country ways, which seemed to me that he didn’t quite learn them all. He felt very city all the way to the very end. I wouldn’t read this book again.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out loud, I've gotta read this paragraph to someone...that describes this book! Written like you are there living this adventure with Wade. I really didn't want this story to end, not only was it funny, it made me think about how people live their lives day in and day out without even thinking whether they are enjoying it or just going through the paces. Great read!
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much of this was written in the coffee shop I worked at (Wade is a Triple shot White Knight with skim and no whip kind of guy), and the staff that summer are still trying to remember who Wade wrote about.

This book is absolutely hilarious and rings true of anyone moving from city life to quaint life in our little corner of the Lake Michigan shoreline!
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In this memoir showcasing the ugly side of the affluent mothers of the pseudonymous Tate Academy, among the country's most prestigious prep schools, Rouse, the school's director of public relations, explains that his job is that of the Mommy Handler-keeping the families and benefactors of the institution happy. In particular, he works closely with a woman he calls Kitsy, the head of the parent and ...more