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The Self-Destruction Handbook: 8 Simple Steps to an Unhealthier You Paperback – May 25 2004


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist



Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (May 25 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400050332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400050338
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 0.9 x 20.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #712,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

ADAM WASSON is a Scotch-swilling, Marlboro-smoking, relationship-sabotaging MWM. He enjoys walks on the beach, sodomitical literature, and good food. He is looking for: a small but vehement cult following.

JESSICA STAMEN is an SWF with a kind heart, questionable morals, and a history of Oprah-esque weight fluctuation. She is looking for: a man.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction

CONGRATULATIONS! In picking up this book you have already accomplished more than you may realize. For one thing, you've made a statement about yourself—you are not someone who simply follows the crowd. Let's face it, there are thousands of books on how to avoid self-destructive behavior. As far as we know, however, this is the world's first book on how to embrace self-destruction, enjoy it, and pursue it to its fullest extent. Take a moment just to congratulate yourself on being unique enough to recognize this fact, and brave enough to investigate it.

The self-hurt goal
Our goal here is simple: We want to help you not help yourself To that end, we offer advice on everything from how to stalk an ex to how to smoke with emphysema. Wondering which gateway drug is right for you? This book will help you decide. Not sure how much degradation you can take? Probably more than you think: We'll help you push your limits.

No matter what self-destructive behavior you're interested in pursuing, chances are we've got some valuable advice and encouragement for you.

Destruction Isn't Death
Self-destruction is not suicide. In fact, they are very different. Suicidal people want to end life altogether, whereas self-destructives enjoy debasing themselves, degrading others, and generally wreaking physical and emotional havoc on the world around them. There is nothing more life-affirming than total destruction, whereas death, in our opinion, is zero fun.

If you are suicidal, then you have probably lost all sense of irony and should look elsewhere for help.

If, on the other hand, you hope to mastermind and botch multiple suicide attempts in order to frighten and manipulate people who care about you, we've got some real gems for you in chapter 8.

Your self-hurt journey
We're not going to lie to you. Self-destruction can be a difficult and sometimes lonely road. That is why, if you remember only one thing as you read this book, we want you to remember this: The whole point of self-destruction is that it's fun. If you're not having fun, then you might as well be taking vitamins, "working" on your relationships, and reading self-help books.

Your goal here should be to develop and pursue your destructive tendencies to their fullest potential, and to have a good time doing it. Before you read further, we'd like you to reflect for a moment on the most self-destructive thing you've ever done. Gratifying, wasn't it?

Okay, let's get to it!

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1. What time do you normally begin drinking? a. After work b. Noon or before c. No idea-pawned watch for beer money Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
My wife and I picked up this book based on the title alone. The clerk, reading the title as we paid for it, noted that "no home should be without this." I've always wondered if he'd actually read the book or was just riffing on the title.
First off -- this book is satire. It's a joke. Some of the jokes are tasteless, many are crude, a couple are just plain wrong. But they're jokes. All of them. I can image that this book is misunderstood and reviled by many who take it at face value. But any issue that I, or anyone, should have with this book is about the humour and nothing else. It's not that "you either get it or you don't" -- I get it, but that doesn't mean that I'm obligated to find everything in it funny, either. Bone-dry, satire-with-a-side-of-detached-irony isn't everyone's cup of tea.
Nor is that brand of satire a carte blanche to get away with whatever insult/offensive remark/slur that you can think of. A lot of bad writing gets published in the name of satire, and while this book isn't bad writing, it has it's moments. Like I said, some of this book is pretty rough going, even for a seasoned satirist and humourist such as myself. There are some very deadpan jokes in here about such obvious targets as eating disorders, STDs, the obese, children, the elderly, smokers, non-smokers...etc. Not all of them are as funny as you'd hope. It's a dark little book. Some of the jokes are so dark, in fact, that it seems a little cruel even reading them. It's not that they're offensive; it's just that they're not funny. They're outrageous, they're mean-spirited and, even though they're clearly not meant to be taken seriously, they can be tough to read.
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Format: Paperback
I laughed, I cried, I laughed so hard that I cried . . .
We live in a Self-Help Age. In fact, I dare you to find someone who hasn't snuck a peek at one of these lifestyle-bibles, whether it's Dale Carnegie, Dr. Phil, 7 Habits, or another self-improvement book. The search is futile because we live in a culture which bombards us with a million different messages saying that we aren't good enough, productive enough, thin enough, having good enough (or enough good) sex . . . the list goes on and on, and there are hundreds of books out there which proclaim to have the answers. Who could resist?
The Self-Destruction Handbook is the first time that anyone has had the nerve to stop and challenge this phenomenon. Wasson and Stamen take self-help to the edge, and then they keep right on going. . .
It's not that the S-D HB ridicules those of us who had made honest attempts at improving our lives, but rather that it takes on the self-proclaimed Self-Help Guru's who have founded empires (and made millions) on the backs of such hapless souls. In fact, I would argue that in their own perverse way, the authors have offered their own improvement strategies to readers. Through their sometimes irreverent, sometimes more biting critiques of the Self-Help Empires, they remind us that oftentimes the most effective coping strategies are a healthy sense of humor and the insistance on not taking life so damn seriously.
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For those of us who have experienced the twisted, heady highs that come with self-destructive behavior, this book reads like a conspiratorial elbow nudge or wink. If you think Billy Crudup is slightly sexier for having ditched Mary Louise Parker a month or so before she gave birth to his child, much of the advice and commentary in this book is going to ring true and seem oddly reassuring. And make you chuckle knowingly, of course, shaking your head in disbelief.
Unfortunately, the joke is going to be lost on most people, the earnest, prissy types who prefer to live life on the straight and narrow, looking down on those who get into scrapes. The fact is, the people who can cop to a few inappropriate booze-related outbursts or who constantly find themselves in bad relationships make normal people really uncomfortable and defensive.
I mean, I suppose one could go to yoga classes, amuse themselves by watching Everyone Loves Raymond reruns, embrace the low-carb lifestyle and listen to James Taylor. For my part, I'd rather listen to the Rolling Stones, eat swedish fish and gummy bears until I get sick, drink premium vodka and seek out dark, flawed souls to fall in love with (Danny Zucko? Bill Clinton? Heathcliff?).
I must say, though, that the book's humor frequently descends into screwball, base, gratuitously mysoginistic goofball stuff which, to me, does not seem in line with the alluring, colorful cool pose that self-destructives are supposed to assume. Although the book is well-written and fairly intelligent, the authors, in effect, proclaim their naughtiness and deviance a bit too loudly and gleefully. They also apparently think that butts are hilariously funny. But most of us can take it and enjoy it for what it's worth--if you can't, don't worry, you're just hopelessly mainstream.
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Anyone who can't help smirking in the "Self-Help" section will find the recommendations in this book both slightly familiar and vaguely alluring. The fact that they're also shocking and disgusting is what makes it a good read. Stamen and Wasson succeed in making us laugh at things we suspect we ought to find deeply offensive, and their send-up of popular self-help plans and cliches is funny and informed. The book is gratifying not only for its hilarious "gross-out" value, but because it wittily reminds us of what we probably already knew: that the only thing more ridiculous than shopping for self-destruction in the pages of a book is shopping for self-realization there.
Next time you're snorting with laughter in the self-help aisle, buy this book instead. If you're snorting anything else in the self-help aisle, you probably already have it.
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