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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 9 November 2005
This is a really entertaining book, actually very funny at times - the bit with the alien medium was hilarious.
Theroux writes well - in a light and effortless to read style.
While it isn't too serious, he does pause to muse on the nature of weirdness, the origins of abnormal beliefs and behaviours in his subjects, and his own motivations for covering them. This is done without pretentious psychobabble.
The people covered are really fascinating and Theroux's interactions with them, as viewers of his TV series will know, are always revealing and amusing.
I really recommend this book.
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on 26 January 2009
As a Louis Theroux fan, I will try my best to give a honest non-biased opinion on this book.

Although before buying any book, I normally only read the negative reviews as I'm more interested in what is NOT good about a book I'm considering reading, I did gave this book 5 stars. I am an extremely picky reader who has a hard time finding a book decent enough to hold my attention - as well as this, it should be noted that the theme of the book is something i already have great interested in, so obviously that helped. If you're not interested in social insights, sub-cultures, even travel - then there probably isn't any point buying this book to be fair. Now, for those that are looking for this kind of book;

I found the book extremely easy to read, and highly addictive due to its segmented nature. Clear chapters on specific individuals representing a role model of a specific sub-culture; each of these chapters divided up into clear introduction/background, current progress and after thought sections. He writes in a well educated manner that not only makes reading it enjoyable, but also really helps the mind paint mental pictures of various scenes, people and places with great detail.

While traveling the USA to meet his topic characters, we have an insight into the surrounding society of various locations; towns, cities and states. The book echoes the travel writing style once popularized so well by Louis father.

As well as these sides to the book, I found it interesting in an almost autobiographical sense. Not in the sense that we find out much of Louis' life, but compared to the likes of the television series, we find out a lot more about his own thoughts, his aims and goals and his own concerns about not meeting them or not being the serious journalist he thinks he aught to.

Louis embarks on a journey not only through America, its subcultures, society, human psychology but also his own personality - almost trying to discover through these 'weirdos' who he is, and what makes him different more than what makes THEM different. I believe that's the crux of this book.

It's perhaps because of this that you will probably enjoy the book irrespective of your interests, but will take an even deeper joy in reading it if your a fan of the covered topics or indeed Louis Theroux as a journalist. The book can be deep and thought provoking, disturbing and troubling as much as it can be light hearted, funny and entertaining.
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on 11 October 2005
I'm a bit of a fan of Louis Theroux's TV documentaries, but I came to this book not sure what to expect. Was it a travel book, a study in weirdness, a confessional, quirky, serious? But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how quickly I ploughed through it.
The title is a bit mis-leading - "travels through American sub-cultures" - as this isn't really a travel book but a study of ten characters who Louis has met over the course of his journalism.
Louis moves to America and spends almost a year on a kind of road trip seeking out his favourite "weird" subjects. A porn performer, an alien-hunter, a pimp(!), Ike Turner and some scarey racist neo-nazis to name just a few. The chapter I found most fascinating was one about a woman called April. She's a neo-nazi and has two young blonde twins who she trains to sing nazi songs.
Somehow the humanity of even the most reprehensible of these people shines through. And Louis obviously has quite a close, affectionate bond with a lot of these people.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to figure out what compels people to believe outlandish things or to choose bizarre modes of life. Keep an open mind, and you wil love this book as i did!
Am I the first person to read this??? BUY IT!
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on 17 October 2005
The word 'debut' seems a little weird for Louis, after all, most of the people who pick up this book will be long familiar with Louis and his collection of mad hatters from across the pond. Settling down with Louis' journey feels like rekindling some long lost friendships. I was most interested to catch up with Hayley, who I am sure had a bit of a thing for Louis - who wouldn't? Not even Christine Hamilton was impervious. Louis writes as he talks: charming, self efacing and respectful of his interviewees despite them having some horrific views. Ah...with the exception of Marshall Sylver who was a bit of a scumbag anyway. More power to you Louis and don't let anyone call you a poor man's Jon Ronson.
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on 6 June 2016
It's very hard to review this book. In terms of it being a brilliant companion to Louis' 'Weird Weekends' show - it was fantastic. It is written in the style of how he normally comes across - honest and unbelievably fair considering the circumstances he finds himself in.

The let down points weren't in the writing of the book but the content (more to do with personal preference than the stories and interviews included). I was very interested in some story lines compared to others but I persisted in reading it as it was still entertaining nevertheless. I was also hoping some other characters that he came across in the TV show would turn up but alas due to difficulties in Louis being able to gain contact with them, this is obviously why.

However, as long as you have watched the series and developed an interest in whether these people have changed since appearing in the show, I would definitely recommend it.
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on 10 November 2005
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the Weird Weekends.
If you haven't seen the Weird Weekends-then I suggest that you get the DVDS post haste!
In the book, Louis is reunited with some of his favorite, or at least, his weirdest 'subjects'. Some are happy to see him-others are not; some subjects’ lives' have become almost normal and others are as kooky as ever.
Louis is-as ever- endearingly naughty and often gives them enough rope to choke on. However, he also seems genuinely fond of some of his subjects, which i found rather touching.
I really enjoyed this book and hope that we see more of Louis' work in the future-whether on T.V. or in print.
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on 14 June 2016
Without his expressions and the controlled questioning of the tv programmes, Louis Theroux's book lacks the sparkle that makes his tv so much fun. I found the book was rather more about those sad, failing loners searching to make something of them selves and those who could have done with mental health services. It is also a bit overwhelmed by the white right and religious.
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on 17 October 2005
Being an avid follower of Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends it seemed a logical to read about Louis' return to 'Weirdsville' in this book. I'd heard Louis was writing a book in 2004 but was, as another reviewer remarks, unsure of what to expect. However, I took a gamble on the hardback when it was released and was pleasantly surprised.
Following a similar format to the TV series, Louis returns to some of his previous subjects to give a greater insight into what drives their weird ways and provide us with an update on their lives. Be warned though, this isn't a comprehensive update on all of Louis' previous subjects, but rather a trawl through some of those he found more fascinating in the American west. This is understandable, as I'm sure updating us on past exploits would be a neverending story - however, it is a little disappointing that other interesting subjects such as the Boers and swingers weren't covered again. Nevertheless, this book does have the added incentive of containing various material that Louis began but got canned for one reason or another, a la Ike Turner.
Overall, I would suggest watching at least some of the Weird Weekend series before reading this book. These will add greater depth to the reading, and it is definitely good to have a picture of Louis, his interviewing style and his subjects in your mind before being brought up to date. Having said that, if you are simply interested in American sub-cultures then this book is well written enough to keep you entertained - my sister read it having seen only a couple of Weird Weekends and it has inspired her to check out the rest of the series. There's no real narrative flow so you can pick the book up, read a chapter, then put it down again. Well, in theory at least... I usually take more time reading books but was so engrossed by this one that it probably took me about 3 days to get through. Likewise for my sister.
So in answer to whether this book is weird or wonderful, I would have to say that it is both in equal measure. And that is why I would recommend it.
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on 26 July 2016
Interesting follow up to the weird weekends series, didn't realise how old this book was until it got to the nazi twins when it mentions Luis is revisiting barely a year on, putting this book as 10 years older than I had thought
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I was a huge fan of Louis Theroux's TV shows and when this book appeared at a knock-down price on the Kindle I snapped it up. Each of the chapters sees Theroux revisit some of the subjects of his shows in order to catch up with them and see what has happened since they last met. Because of this it's more likely to be of interest to those who saw the original episodes rather than complete newcomers, and additionally there isn't an overall theme - unlike, for example, Jon Ronson's books - so it does feel a little scrappy. Having said that, it's an enjoyable read, if a bit of a mixed bag with some of the encounters being more interesting than others - just like the TV show, really.
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