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

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  1,441 Ratings  ·  287 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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Community Reviews

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Dec 03, 2009 Cherie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs-read
I had to put this book down on page 10 and walk away for a bit. Most of those ten pages were spent describe just how gay the author is. Instead of using one pithy, funny example or metaphor, Rouse uses them all. He had so many funny lines in his head that he couldn't choose, so he didn't. It was as though each "I'm so gay that..." line was his child, and he couldn't bear to get rid of any of them. (See how I pretty much repeated myself, using three sentences to say what could have been conveyed ...more
Jul 28, 2010 Stephany 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 Marsha 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 Ali 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
Jul 14, 2010 Ryan 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 Tori 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
N W James
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 Sarah 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 Mandy 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 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbtq, 2009, 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 Erin 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
Jan 01, 2011 Leslie 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 Kent 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 Kathryn 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 Heidi 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.
Oct 23, 2016 Eliceh 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!
Beth Knaus
A great concept, but too long for me. Very funny, awesome stereotypes and clear visuals. There are a variety of scenes but they are all a bit formulaic. I did read to the end, which was actually a great ending.
Diane Corradini
May 12, 2017 Diane Corradini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, comedy
Just as funny the second time through!
Aug 24, 2010 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wade Rouse wants to create Wade’s Walden, to follow his dream and write, to emulate Henry David Thoreau, eschewing the trappings of the city, living off the land and generally embracing the simple life like he did as a child in the Ozarks. He does so by quitting his job and packing up his house in St. Louis, his dog, Marge, his boyfriend, Gary, and moving just outside a resort town in Michigan that they visited and loved, all while taking on two mortgages and losing an income. His dream takes a ...more
Mar 14, 2017 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The humor and the universal themes made the book so easy to relate to. Rouse delves into the idea of finding oneself and ones place in the world, which is something we must all do. I don't often laugh out loud when I read, but this book made me laugh. There are some serious topics in the book too, and Rouse is so honest with his explorations. In search of the simple life indeed. This book made me contemplate many things.
Jan 14, 2012 Traci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 leave culture, cable, and consumerism behind and strike out, a la Thoreau, for rural America - a place with fewer people than in his former spinning class. There, Wade battles blizzards, bloodthirsty critters, and nosy neighbors with night-vision goggles, and dis ...more
Dec 20, 2010 Noah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another in the library's local summer reading list: this one, a memoir.

Man grows up gay in the Ozarks, watching the sunset while listening to his grandmother read Thoreau.
Man moves to the city "to be both individuals and invisible, to be accepted but left alone."
Man vacations in rural Michigan, and decides to get back to his roots and mimic Thoreau's memoir writing style.

As I was checking it out, the librarian tells me one of her colleagues read this book and hated it. Not the best way to start
Feb 22, 2017 Anne rated it it was amazing
This is the funniest, most enjoyable book I have ever read. Wade Rouse is the most wonderful and genuine author and so hilarious in his description of events, you'll be laughing out loud with tears rolling down your face!
Aug 09, 2010 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't help it - here are some of my favorite parts of this book.


"I, of course, read this too late, like I do everything in my life: the nutrition chart on Little Debbie boxes, the prescription for my Xanax, the size 4 tag in the back of my "men's" jeans."

"And then I had one of those life-changing days, the really big, super-shocking kind, the kind, perhaps, that Mary had when she learned she was a pregnant virgin or Jennifer Grey experienced when the bandages came
Sandy D.
This is a mostly funny memoir about two gay men who decide to leave the city and buy a cottage in the woods near Saugatuck, a resort city on Michigan's west coast. I'm strangely attracted to the "Green Acres" city to country trope, and Rouse's combination of snark, self-deprecation, and insight into small towns and rural communities is fun, although once in a while he carries his hyperbole just a bit too far. Mostly when he's talking about shoes, tight jeans, and flab.

This is the kind of passage
Jun 28, 2011 Candy rated it it was amazing
A friend bought me this book shortly after I had a surgery. It was the perfect book because I needed a laugh (or 300).

Ya know, there's just something about a humorous gay dude that can freaking write. The author is amazingly funny. This book actually reminded me of another book I read earlier this year, The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers. It's the same basic idea, a long time gay couple decide to get away from the city and move to the middle of nowhere. Only, Wade
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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
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