Summary

John Hodgman - New York Times best-selling author, semifamous personality, deranged millionaire, increasingly elderly husband, father, and human of Earth - has written a memoir about his cursed travels through two wildernesses: from the woods of his home in Massachusetts, birthplace of rage, to his exile on the coast of Maine, so-called Vacationland, home to the most painful beaches on Earth.
Vacationland is also about Hodgman's wandering in the metaphoric wilderness of his 40s, those years when dudes especially must painfully stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weirder dads that they are.
Other subjects covered include the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison, and advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.
After three best-selling books of fake facts, Hodgman is finally ready to tell the truth - in the same outlandish, audacious, and inimitable style that has won him fans in every medium he has worked: books, stage, social media, television, and movies.
©2017 John Hodgman (P)2017 Penguin Audio
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Critic reviews

"t's no surprise that an audiobook by humorist John Hodgman is funny. More surprising, though, are the emotional depths Hodgman reaches in this assortment of essays.... He brings the expected dose of sardonic humor to his narration but is also a gifted storyteller. With expert timing and pacing, he explores the foibles and malaise of middle age... This John Hodgman is more bittersweet than his comedic personas but also more compelling for those who appreciate some hard truths within their comedy." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Susan Buttress on 21-11-17

Hodgman’s tales in his own voice - perfect!

Summary: Funny, poignant, candid, and true tales from the life of bestselling author and humourist John Hodgman. I laughed, I wept, and I laughed again. A must-listen!

I’ll admit upfront that I am biased: I admire John Hodgman enormously and enjoy his humour.

His previous immensely popular books of fake facts led the reader on wonderful journeys down rabbit holes of trivia. But times move on and fake facts are no longer the fun diversion they once were.

Vacationland is a stunning change of pace for Hodgman.

Entering his 40s he reached sudden clarity on his own mortality and potential lack of relevance in a youth-driven culture. He does not show any bitterness, however, but accepts that this is the natural order of things. We pave a way for those who come after. But - he is not obsolete yet!

In modest and self-deprecating terms he describes himself as a “strange, white, male monster with bad facial hair”. He shares key moments of his life, and sets them in the context of the locations where he has lived, from The Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts to the “painful beaches” of Maine where he attests he will someday accept his death. He talks about his teenage years, fatherhood, and life as a ‘minor television celebrity’, and reflects on the events that have made him who he is.

Read by Hodgman himself, the style is conversational with beautifully descriptive passages that really evoke the visual scene. The tales are funny, revealing, and downright heartbreaking at times. He shares himself with us as never before.

John Hodgman is a wonderful storyteller and Vacationland totally satisfies, yet leaves you hoping for sequels. Highly recommended!

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4 out of 5 stars
By John Sharpe on 20-11-17

Enjoyable Yarn

I didn't abandon this book after a few chapters, promise myself I'd get back to it and eventually return it. I listened from start to finish. I was not familiar with the author but I like him.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tiffany Pearce on 02-11-17

Not your typical coming of age story

If you've ever liked anything fromJohn Hodgman- Vacstionlabd is for you. If you have never heard of John Hodgman-re-evaluate your life. And also Vacationland is for you.

Layered with absurdist humor and sober sincerity, Hodgman captures snapshots of moments between his mid-twenties and early forties to tell his own coming of age story from early to mid adulthood. The book deals with family, and friendship, and the meeting place of who you were and who you have become.

Moments in Hodgman's life and their place in the world are described so beautifully and cleverly that I often found myself simultaneously laughing and weeping while listening on the subway (which-yes-made me look like a crazy person).

Also, both having read some of Vacationland in print and listened to all of it on audio, having it read out loud to me by Hodgman makes something that's already great even better. I would read from my fiancée's hard cover of the book, but even then I would go back and re-listen to the audible (buzz-marketing) version just so that I could listen to Hodgman tell the stories himself.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Bronwyn Soell on 30-10-17

It really grew on me.

Even funnier than I expected, the author has a droll, deadpan delivery that is hilarious to listen to. Seemingly random anecdotes all come together to deliver thoughtful and conclusions that were more meaningful than I expected. It made me want to go to Maine- even if the water there is made of hate.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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