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John Hodgman's new memoir is a delightful escapade in 'white-privilege mortality comedy'

Esther J. Cepeda on

You think it'd be cool to own a vacation home? Well, there's no garbage collection in rural western Massachusetts, and going to the nearest dump is, shall we say, fraught on a variety of physical, psychic and emotional levels.

The joys of frolicking in the waters of the local swimming hole are tinged with menace, as is the act of attempting to use a bathroom in a Maine candy store (believe me, after reading this book you will never want to visit the state of Maine, which is just as well, since Hodgman is pretty explicit about not wanting to see you there).

But for all the crabby-old-man vibe Hodgman tries to project, "Vacationland" is sweet, introspective, and a little sad in the way that any book about the loss of youth and the march toward certain death inevitably is.

Mostly, however, it's hilarious. Without a doubt, it's a remarkable read in print but a not-to-be-missed listen as an audiobook, which is read by the author in his inimitable self-deprecating yet superior voice (that's an only child for you -- take it from someone who knows).

Hodgman told me, "'Vacationland' makes a wonderful gift for your weird, middle-aged dad." But I can assure you that weird middle-aged moms will love it, too.

 

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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