At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream by Wade Rouse (cover)Whew, what a title! The cover is what drew me to this book initially, followed by the title. Those, and the opening story, in which our protagonist fights of a living coonskin cap he’s acquired while taking out the trash with nothing but tube of Burt’s Bees lip gloss and some breath spray.

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life is Wade Rouse’s memoir about giving up urban life in St. Louis and moving to rural Michigan with his partner, Gary. Inspired by Thoreau’s Walden, which his grandmother introduced him to during his rural Ozark childhood, Wade sets out to establish his own simple country existence, which he dubs Wade’s Walden.

What ensues is by turns hysterical, ridiculous, embarrassing, and touching. Whether he’s sneaking in a covert shopping binge at an outlet mall or singing Kelly Clarkson at the local karaoke bar while getting hit on by a pair of girls, Rouse’s anecdotes are always over the top and saturated with pop culture references.

The book is divided into sections, with each chronicling progress with one of the ten areas Rouse has decided to work on during his time in the country. These include getting to know his neighbors, taking care of the fuzzy woodland creatures, and deepening his relationship with Gary. At each step, Rouse must also confront the rural childhood he fled when he moved to the city so many years ago. Each section concludes with a scorecard-style tally of who’s winning: Wade’s Walden or Modern Society.

I must say I enjoyed the book. If you can handle the exaggerated style, it’s certainly fun. It even has some good messages tucked in amongst the drama.

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