Ben's Reviews > Role Models

Role Models by John Waters
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M 50x66
's review
Jun 08, 2011

really liked it

Reading John Waters isn't too far off from seeing him speak or watching his films. He's charismatic, sometimes imperfect and goes on too long, but is really funny when he hits his mark.

It's interesting to me that while this is a book about people who have influenced him, it's more about him than any other previous book. I can't recall, for example, any previous book mentioning his sexual orientation (not that it was any secret).

Of the chapters in this book, the centerpiece (best written, most fleshed out, most singularly focused, and most controversial) is about Leslie van Houten. Leslie was a member of the Manson Family and came along for the LaBianca (but not Tate) murders. He describes her transformation from LSD-dosed cult zombie to beyond-model inmate with a masters' degree in philosophy. He draws parallels between the Family use of LSD and his own, his winding up actually having a positive effect. Not being old enough to have really been affected by the Manson media circus, I find his argument for Leslie's parole to be very compelling and agree with it.

There's a surprising variety of people he writes about through the course of the book: Little Richard, Johnny Mathis, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, Cy Twombly, Tennessee Williams, Rei Kawakuba, among many others.

I don't think anyone would read John Waters as serious and life-altering literature, but if you want to read something twisted just for fun, it's a good choice.

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