John Hodgman

Quick Synopsis

A nonfiction story collection about adulthood from former The Daily Show With Jon Stewart correspondent John Hodgman.

Publisher’s Synopsis

Although his career as a bestselling author and on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart was founded on fake news and invented facts, in 2016 that routine didn’t seem as funny to John Hodgman anymore. Everyone is doing it now. 
Disarmed of falsehood, he was left only with the awful truth: John Hodgman is an older white male monster with bad facial hair, wandering like a privileged Sasquatch through three wildernesses: the hills of Western Massachusetts where he spent much of his youth; the painful beaches of Maine that want to kill him (and some day will); and the metaphoric haunted forest of middle age that connects them.
Vacationland collects these real life wanderings, and through them you learn of the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, and which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison. There is also some advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.
Though wildly, Hodgmaniacally funny as usual, it is also a poignant and sincere account of one human facing his forties, those years when men in particular must stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weird dads that they are.

Book Review

On a recent vacation to Maine, I was looking for appropriate audiobooks to listen to during the drive and ended up listening to Vacationland. And I am so glad that I did.

Vacationland is a collection of stories and essays from former The Daily Show with Jon Stewart correspondent John Hodgman. In this book, Hodgman provides anecdotes of his adult life and reflections on middle age and parenting.

Vacationland was my real introduction to John Hodgman – apart from the I’m a PC commercials. I thoroughly enjoyed both his stories and narration. I cannot count the number of times a laughed aloud – sometimes to the point of tears. The experiences he recounts are relatable yet genuine. Sure, I do not have any celebrity friends nor do I have children, but I have been thrust into adulthood only to feel woefully unprepared.

I also really appreciated that Hodgman acknowledged multiple times that his observations and experiences are one of privilege – as a white, cishet man and as someone who grew up well off and is fairly wealthy now. So while I could not relate to his experience of owning a house or two summer homes, I could still appreciate the stories and laugh at his observations of Maine, which I often found spot on.

Overall, I thought Vacationland was a entertaining collection of stories that were both reflective and funny. I highly recommend listening to this book on audio!


Overall Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches


Nonfiction – Essays & Stories; Humor

Publication Date
October 24, 2017


Storygraph Rating
4.08 stars

Goodreads Rating
4.04 stars

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