Tuesday, March 31, 2020

"Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder" - John Waters



I'm a definite fan of John Waters and was really looking forward to reading "Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder." Through the book's first 50 pages, I had laughed and I had cried and I was completely blown away by the book. Up to that point, the book was largely Waters sharing experiences related to his filmography.

About halfway through, Waters moves away from the filmography and into what is essentially a series of essays ranging from autobiographical to those that simply lean into the idea of "tarnished wisdom."

I found the autobiographical essays for the most part enjoyable, especially those around Provincetown and his own life experiences. I wasn't as taken by some of the more random essays and found the last couple chapters, in particular, rather disappointing. It almost seemed like he was trying to stretch out the book and, much like with film, maybe some tighter editing would've been beneficial.

Through the first 50 pages or so, the book was easily a 5-star. Then, by the book's end, I found myself thinking maybe a 3-star. Truthfully, I really enjoyed and appreciated it and I admire Waters' refreshing honesty - he cites numbers, he names names, and he's absolutely not afraid to say what he thinks. I've always found him a little intimidating and this book probably affirmed that.

"Mr. Know-It-All" is often brilliant. It's occasionally derivative. It's even more frequently brilliantly derivative. It's all John Waters and if you're into John Waters then that's really all you need to know. If you're not into John Waters? This probably isn't the book that's going to change your mind.

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