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Wacky Chicks: Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women [Paperback]

Simon Doonan
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

15 Aug 2005
Wacky chicks are women who turn heads, get people talking and start trends. They dare to wear the outrageous and live life any way they see fit. And now New York Observer columnist and savvy social commentator Simon Doonan trains his most discerning eye on sixteen of these exceptional creatures, and shows how a fiercely embraced sense of individuality can be an inspiration to us all. Doonan interviews wacky chicks like Amy Sedaris, host of Comedy Central's hit show, Strangers with Candy; Suzanne Bartsch, the woman who taught Madonna how to vogue; and lower profile wacky chicks like hip hypnotist Jessica Porter and Isabel Garrett, a freestyle fashion designer working out of a trailer in a Florida nudist colony. As different as they are outrageous, these women share a powerful nonconformist bent, and in these pages offer their priceless guidance on beauty, business, fashion, love, motherhood and unleashing your feminist wacky chick without losing your femininity. Whether Doonan is profiling a celebrity gossip columnist or a park ranger with a menagerie of reptiles, he consistently delivers his own brand of distinctively sophisticated, razor sharp wit. Truly original, WACKY CHICKS is as much a whimsical self-help book as it is a hilarious and heartfelt tribute to these avatars of style and rebellion.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprinted edition edition (15 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743257898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743257893
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 13.8 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 571,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

"A rollicking ride through the loud, controversial, dramatic, and utterly engrossing lives of our society's most noteworthy Auntie Mames." -- "Gotham"

About the Author

Simon Doonan, the creative director at Barney's New York, is the author of NASTY and CONFESSIONS OF A WINDOW DRESSER. He is a columnist for The New York Observer and regular commentator on America's Next Top Model, Full Frontal Fashion and VH1.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Lessons from Incredible Women! 19 July 2007
By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Simon Doonan celebrates a series of eccentric, flamboyant and incredibly eccentric women, in the way only an equally fabulous gay man can!

'Wacky Chicks' are B.R.U.N.C.H. (belligerent, resilient, uninhibited, creative and hilarious)These are women who do what they want and don't care what anyone thinks about it....they do pro-choice protests outside abortion clinics dressed as Satan, they are 'alternative' cheerleaders who sing chants about body fascism, they communicate with birds and they sell slashed spandex body suits. The lard-napalm incident with his gran (referred to as the more descriptive narg) is worth the price of the book alone.

This book is like a big injection of life in the arm, not only are these women incredible but Doonan as narrator frequently had me in hysterics. His thoughts on nudist colonies? 'I myself am more cautiously enthusiastic: the sight of grown people in various states of physical fitness frying their genitalia on public beaches can really put one off one's pasta salad.'

Do yourself a favour, buy this book and ditch the personality-less celebs that pass for role-models these days!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty 17 July 2009
By Carol
Format:Paperback
An easy read, witty, well-paced and very amusing. However, having read this and another Doonan book consecutively, I did find a fair bit of repetition and his anecdotes about his partner, Jonathan Adler, seem to have been squeezed in - more relevant for a magazine interview than for this book, I feel. I loved his cover design.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Quite Work... 22 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love Simon Doonan, in my view he is one of the brightest, wittiest and most entertaining writers around. But I found this book disappointing. The main problem was not being familiar with any of the 'wacky chicks' he features/interviews here, I found it hard to get really involved with them and their stories. I think it may have helped if the book had included a photo of each woman featured, to help the reader to relate to them and get enthused about their 'wackyness'. He gives physical descriptions of these goddesses of eccentricity, but that just left me frustrated that I couldn't see them for myself! I found Doonan's wonderful book 'Eccentric Glamour' a far more engaging, funny and instantly relatable read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Book insight into Television Series 15 Dec 2011
By Dave
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the book that the BBC Television series "Beautiful People" is based on. You get to read about the bits that were missed out of the television series for what ever reason. It is a real insight into a real family in the UK in the 70's. Worth buying for the read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NAUGHTY, CREATIVE, AND HILARIOUS! 4 May 2003
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Reading "Wacky Chicks" is very much like dishing with a best friend. Of course, this friend knows everything, sees everything, and tells all about the most outrageous women imaginable. If you're lucky enough to have Simon Doonan as your friend he doesn't relate information disparagingly but rather affectionately and in delicious detail.

This all too short romp through the lives of the bold, brazen and sometimes beautiful is subtitled "Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women." Rightly so.
We meet Brigid Berlin, a rather chubby Andy Warhol adoptee who through this artist discovered an excellent venue for her exhibitionism - whether it was shooting whipped cream into her mouth or shooting mind altering substances into not-mentioned-in-polite-society body parts.
Today, according to Doonan, she can be found in a Park Avenue apartment. Gray haired and well groomed, she appears to be the stereotypical well-to-do matron. Don't be fooled. There's a needlepoint pillow which is a portrait of Yasir Arafat with the words "They're Our Cousins" on it. Companion pillows are Chandra Levy and Michael Jackson.
It seems that few Wacky Chicks age gracefully; they simply age with a flare.
Pages in this sometimes ditzy, always delightful tell-all also include vignettes about Isabel Garrett, doyenne and driver of a motor home which hop scotches across the United States with pit stops at swinger conventions and biker rallies. Whether or not she drives in the all-together is not mentioned, but she is a sworn nudist.
Someone on planet Earth has produced, written, and performed macrobiotic dinner theater; she is Jessica Porter, hypnotist to numerous celebrities. Having read this far, it almost comes as no surprise that Amy Sedaris, chief of everything of the Comedy Central series Strangers with Candy, has transformed her apartment into a woodland wonderland all for the benefit of her beloved pet rabbit, Tattle-tale.
According to our erstwhile author, "Wacky chicks are a burgeoning and highly entertaining phenomenon. Wacky chicks will change the world. Wacky chicks dare to annoy. Wacky chicks empower themselves and others without acting like blokes. Wacky chicks are having more fun than most regular chicks and all men, except maybe gay men. Wacky chicks are disapproval-immune. Wacky chicks are belligerent, resilient, uninhibited, naughty, creative, and hilarious...."
So is Simon Doonan.
- Gail Cooke
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted, Fun Reading...and Inspirational, to Boot 7 July 2004
By Danielle Bennignus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I purchased this book out of respect for my late grandmother and great-grandmother - both of them sublimely wacky ladies. I had been thinking of them, and just happened upon this book - maybe it was meant to be. As I leafed through the pages, I found myself laughing out loud at the stories and witty writing style - I had to have it. And, upon reading the book cover to cover, was delighted.
At last, a brave soul (only the likes of Simon Doonan could do it) has stepped forward, and lauded the zany lifestyles and pasttimes of these women - what society otherwise calls "characters". Here they are in all their loony glory - raising reptiles, creating burlesque home decor, fashioning spandex biker garb, writing up radical cheerleading rhymes...the tales don't stop, and come at you at rapid-fire speed. And not in a disrespectful, exploitative manner - it's done so with great respect, and an often bittersweet tinge. These wacky women didn't get that way by accident - there are some sad stories involved. But these only serve to enhance the overall feel of the book - these ladies are real people with great depth, not cartoony caricatures.
And as far as my own wacky ancestors? Well, having read this book only makes me admire them all the more, and hope to embrace their eccentricities as my own. Maybe times have changed, and maybe I'll never have to endure the hardships they had to (the Great Depression, social pressures, Great Wars, poverty...you name it), but thanks to this book, I have a much greater appreciation of their survival instincts, and sense of fun in the face of adversity. This book surely opened my eyes even more to their greatness, and to the unique nature of all "wacky chicks".
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational book for those out there that do not fit in! 10 July 2005
By Schwinngrrrl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I live in a small rural area and heard about this book online. Once I requested a copy through my local library and read it through, I realized I needed a copy of my very own. This book is The Bible for those quirky ladies out there who refuse to live by the rules of others, who march to the beat of their own drummer. Once I read it, I didn't feel like I was such an freak, for lack of a better word. If only more people went their own direction, this world would certainly be a more amusing place, let alone more tolerable. I now own this book- and read it quite regularly, as the stories are always refreshing and inspiring...Thank you Simon and ladies!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and Snappy :) 31 Oct 2003
By Rebecca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the cutest little book, every bit as snappy as the cover suggests. Whether or not you feel inclined to join the ranks of the Wacky Chicks, you will definitely enjoy reading about the courageous and resiliant women Doonan profiles here. They are absolutely hilarious with their sassy approach to life that is uninhibited and yet clean. I think they are the women every woman wants to be, though most of us lack the courage. Not only are these women funny in their own right, but Doonan's writing style is equally entertaining. He has that kind of snappy "humorous gay guy" quality to him that is really funny without being too stereotypical or campy. I really liked this book and recommend it for anyone with an inner Wacky Chick.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his others 7 Oct 2011
By WilloWill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I had just read Eccentric Glamour and Beautiful People (aka Nasty) and was desperately starving for some more Simon Doonan. However this one was far less interesting. One reviewer said that it had "too much Simon" in it, but for me the problem was not enough Simon.

His style is breezy and witty as usual, but the women he writes about are fairly irritating, shrill, silly types who are mostly successful in fashion (except Jessica Porter, who is a macrobiotic preacher; I have a book of hers about macrobiotics, and a very silly book it is).

I thought it was odd that he describes a few of the women in this book as looking/dressing like strippers, whereas in his later book Eccentric Glamour he specifically rails against the stripper look. I think it's better to follow his advice in the latter book rather than seeking to emulate the chicks in this one.

And even if you aren't seeking to emulate these wacky chicks - I doubt anyone would be, really - they're just not that interesting to read about. Just because they aren't "traditional" (whatever that means) doesn't mean they are really that fascinating. They all come across as flaky in a bad way, like they are trying too hard to be different and are totally desperate for attention. Of course, Simon himself (or at least the character he portrays in Beautiful People) is also desperate for attention, but he is also infinitely more amusing and self-aware than these women. Reading about "the original wacky chick", his mother, is also preferable to reading about most of these overrated blathers. Skip this one and go for Beautiful People or Eccentric Glamour.
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