Thursday, 2 September 2010

Louis Theroux – The Call of The Weird: Travels in American Subcultures.

I really enjoy watching Louis Theroux’s documentaries and have watched most of them so when I saw this book I had to have it. He has a unique and entertaining style and this is carried across in the book almost as well as on the television.

The names of the chapters are the names of the people who are the main subjects and looking down through the list I recognised many of those names. Even the ones that weren’t familiar at first glance soon came back to me as I stared reading their chapter. There were just two exceptions to this, Ike Turner, as that documentary never got finished and Oscody of the Heavens Gate cult as this is one of the episodes that I have missed.

It was very interesting to see how the peoples lives had changed. I especially liked the chapters about JJ Michaels, the porn star and Jerry Gruidl, an Aryan. Jerry is particularly fascinating as on one hand he comes across as a nice man, he seems quite kind and helpful in many ways but then he reveals his very strong racism and hatred towards non-white people and Jews which is a complete contradiction to the nice side of his personality.

You would be able to read and enjoy this book not having watched the documentaries as Louis includes a summary of his previous visit to that person in each chapter but I think having a knowledge of the programmes helps make the book more enjoyable.

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