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Extended Audio Sample Role Models Audiobook, by John Waters Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,520 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Waters Narrator: John Waters Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2010 ISBN: 9781400187034
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Role Models is filmmaker John Waters's self-portrait told through intimate profiles of favorite personalities-some famous, some unknown, some criminal, some surprisingly middle-of-the-road. From Esther Martin, owner of the scariest bar in Baltimore, to the American playwright Tennessee Williams; from the atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair to the insane martyr Saint Catherine of Siena; from the English novelist Denton Welch to the timelessly appealing singer Johnny Mathis-these are the extreme figures who helped the author form his own brand of neurotic happiness. Role Models is a personal invitation into one of the most unique, perverse, and hilarious artistic minds of our time. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “His acolytes won’t need a reviewer’s say-so to lap up every word of Role Models…But dilettantes at liberty to skip around will find a lot to charm them. In a way, the best joke is that…Waters can’t help revealing on every page that he’s both sentimental and good-hearted. Pass the relish, Uncle John.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • The essays in Role Models meander pleasantly around personalities, recollections and ideas, always finding glory in the flaws.... Within [Waters'] jokes and winks and countercultural jabs, he is striving for real human emotion. Los Angeles Times
  • “Waters is a greater national treasure than 90 percent of the people who are given Kennedy Center Honors each December. Unlike those gray eminences of the show-business establishment, Waters doesn’t kowtow to the received wisdom, he flips it the bird…[Waters] has the ability to show humanity at its most ridiculous and make that funny rather than repellent. To quote his linear ancestor W. C. Fields: it’s a gift.”

    Washington Post

  • “Apart from its consistently engaging voice, both casual and eloquent…what makes Role Models more than just the latest expression of a great American oddball is its appearance at a time when nearly every segment of society (hipsters, meet Tea Partiers) feels justified in dehumanizing anyone they deem as the other. Waters never does that, even to the truly abhorrent. This man who never sought respectability may have become the most affectionate and radical humanist in American letters.”

    Barnes & Noble editorial review

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fontaine | 2/19/2014

    " I can't put this book down. Waters is in fine form - taking left turns when you expect a right turn, self-deprecating while promoting his entire oeuvre and cracking jokes about topics that, well, just aren't the kind of thing that would tickle your funny bone. But in 'Waters World' nothing is sacred and all is glimmeringly profane and oh so fun! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 2/18/2014

    " This book is a lot of fun. John Waters is a truly unique and probably brilliant individual, and a wonderful writer. The chapter on Leslie Van Houten goes on too long and seems written for the benefit of the parole board, but that comes early in the book and it's the only misfire in an otherwise witty and (I'm really trying to avoid the word 'subversive' because that's just so obvious when talking about John Waters) oddly inspiring collection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jerry | 2/8/2014

    " At times the shtick gets a bit old and I admit I did scan some passages looking for something that didn't seem redundant and something I'd read before. Some great essays (outsider porn feels completely honest) and digressions about waters sexuality, something I've never quite understood are eye-opening. a must-read for a fan. But not everything needs to be scoured and taken as gospel. started finally reading it on my long-avoided first trip to fire island (although waters is a p-town regular) so it felt appropriate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 1/27/2014

    " Fantastic! But as a person who has watched Pink Flamingos on Christmas Eve more than once, I might be biased. Regardless, this might be the first book I ever wanted to call big-hearted, without a trace of irony in my voice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Whiteford | 1/19/2014

    " Reading this book is like hanging out with John Waters while he tells you about stuff he likes. Which, of course, is amazing. I was along for the ride right from the first paragraph and I laughed out loud a whole lot as the essays progressed. He lost me a tiny bit when he spent a bunch of time describing clothing in one chapter, but everything else in here was great. It made me remember discovering his movies as a teenager and made me wonder if I need to take more risks with the art I look at and the books I read and the movies I watch. Thanks, Mr. Waters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/18/2014

    " he's wonderful. as always. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate Walker | 1/17/2014

    " Very loosely written, but fun that way. John Waters meanders through various interviews with some of his heroes, letting us in on as much as he is able to get out of his encounters with a very eclectic group of celebrities. The book is clearly, and intentionally as much about him as it is about the actors and musicians he admires. He talks about his experience of fame, and restricts himself mostly to a discussion of his public persona, which creates an odd distancing affect with the reader, I felt. I'm famous and you're not, kind of thing. I'm reading Tina Fey and Rob Lowe's memoirs concurrently, and they each have a much more intimate feel. Waters says at one point, "I always assumed people who bared their souls in interviews had no one else to confide in." It leaves the reader feeling that, no matter what he writes or shares in the published pages, he'd rather be sharing it with someone else. Not my favorite literary technique. Still, he's very funny, and you're glad to be in the audience, if not inside the author's head. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 1/12/2014

    " Absolutely hysterical!!!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kit | 1/1/2014

    " Essays and appreciations by John Waters. Wonderful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paige Newman | 12/30/2013

    " Really fun book that feels like Waters is just sharing his favorite gossip with you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin Doudoroff | 12/24/2013

    " Good set of essays, except last chapter, which was pointless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 12/19/2013

    " Anyone who think's that Anne Tyler's Baltimore characters are quirky should take a look at John Waters. Well written and entertaining and interesting but you have to be willing to go pretty far off of the normalcy grid. But lots of good B'more stuff! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Walter | 12/12/2013

    " Excellent collection of portraits. Waters tells us a great deal about himself through his essays on this unusual cast of characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rain | 8/29/2013

    " Of course some chapters were of more interest to me than others, (loved his take on fashion; cared a little less about subversive porn), but still a worthy read. I want him to invite me to dinner. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darlene | 6/5/2013

    " Some great essays, but Waters seems to loose steam in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamela | 3/6/2013

    " Love him and my hometown even more after reading this new one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 lime-lightdesigns.com Shel Holliday | 6/20/2012

    " Since my paternal Grandmother Esther is written about in one of the chapters. I'm very excited to see how the book will end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Isabel | 4/1/2012

    " My respect for this brilliant man grew with every turn of the page. I too hope one day to die of spontaneous combustion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 11/19/2011

    " This book was eye-opening, and I learned about a whole other area of outsider film-making. It scared me! Still, I LOVE John Waters, and will always be a loyal fan of his work. The chapters on Johnny Mathis, Leslie Van Houten, and Tennessee Williams were superb. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 8/9/2011

    " Not a traditional biography, but I liked this quite a bit. The idea that your life can be described by the people you consider your role models is an interesting way to frame things. Disjointed, yet compelling, pretty much exactly what I hoped this book would be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aaron | 8/2/2011

    " Very interesting. Especially liked the interviews with underground pornographers and his fascination with the Manson Family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cassandra | 7/27/2011

    " I felt like the chapters in this book really fluctuated in quality, and that made me drag in completing it. I loved the Johnny Mathis and Leslie Van Houten chapters (the second one was particularly fascinating!), but the fashion and art segments didn't grab me as much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/31/2011

    " And then for something completely different . . . Quirky. Humorous. Quick read. Some kinky sex stuff. Made me want to watch some of Waters' bizarre films. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/17/2011

    " if you're already a fan you'll like it... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Noel | 5/17/2011

    " This book is so laugh-out-loud funny that I have stopped reading it in public... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 4/25/2011

    " I love John Waters and this book was just like sitting down with him and listening to him tell stories. How great is that?! I was sad that it ended, but all good things... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Badinia | 4/12/2011

    " Written in one of the most distinctive voices out there, this book has been endlessly entertaining and sometimes surprisingly philosophical, dealing with obsession, fan worhship, delight, and disappointment from an amazing cult moviemaker and fop about town. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 4/3/2011

    " John Waters cares and he's here to help. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mia | 3/28/2011

    " Waters' love for and delight in the dirty, grungy, ignored, degraded and insulted is infectious. Possibly even contageous and mutational. And this is a good thing. His ability to demonstrate thoughtfulness and compassion while revelling in pure, fully adulterrated scumminess is wonderful. "

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About the Author
Author John Waters

John Waters is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, and visual artist best known for his cult films, including Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, and Cecil B. DeMented. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.