Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches

Vacationland collects real life wanderings where you learn of the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, and which animals to keep as pets and the ones to kill with traps or poison. It also offers some advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god. For John Hodgman, it tells about his wandering in the metaphorical wilderness of his 40s; in finding himself as an older white male monster with ugly facial hair wandering through the hills of Western Massachusetts where he spent much of his youth and the painful beaches of Maine that want to kill him (and very likely will succeed someday).

Although his work is a “Hodgmaniacally” funny story of his life, it is also a poignant and insightful account of a man facing his forties – a period when men must stop pretending to be the children of bright potential that they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weird dads that they are.

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