Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book Review: Call of the Weird: Travels In American Subcultures by Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux is a British documentarian who is best known for his series Weird Weekends.  In the series, he spends an hour a week looking into various outsider groups in the United States - from neo-Nazis to porn stars to UFO enthusiasts.  In this book, he revisits some of the people he met while filming his documentaries and focuses on where they are now.

Writing
I love Theroux's documentaries, though I have to say that I wish I had watched them all before reading the book, instead of the other way around.  I think his voice as a documentarian is consistent with his voice as an author and that the stories of the individuals he has shown in his films translate well to book format.

Entertainment Value
Like I mentioned above, I think the book has a greater appeal once you've seen the documentaries.  While Theroux is good about not spending too much time rehashing the documentary plots, it does leave you feeling as if you missed something from the original story.  That said, the stories are fascinating and Theroux is a born story-teller.

Overall
If you're interested in the subject matter, or if you happen to have seen Theroux's documentaries, it's a must read.

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