Get a free audiobook

Vacationland

True Stories from Painful Beaches
Written by: John Hodgman
Narrated by: John Hodgman
Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
5 out of 5 stars (65 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

John Hodgman - New York Times best-selling author, semifamous personality, deranged millionaire, increasingly elderly husband, father, and human of Earth - has written a memoir about his cursed travels through two wildernesses: from the woods of his home in Massachusetts, birthplace of rage, to his exile on the coast of Maine, so-called Vacationland, home to the most painful beaches on Earth.

Vacationland is also about Hodgman's wandering in the metaphoric wilderness of his 40s, those years when dudes especially must painfully stop pretending to be the children of bright potential they were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, weirder dads that they are.

Other subjects covered include the horror of freshwater clams, the evolutionary purpose of the mustache, which animals to keep as pets and which to kill with traps and poison, and advice on how to react when the people of coastal Maine try to sacrifice you to their strange god.

After three best-selling books of fake facts, Hodgman is finally ready to tell the truth - in the same outlandish, audacious, and inimitable style that has won him fans in every medium he has worked: books, stage, social media, television, and movies.

©2017 John Hodgman (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"t's no surprise that an audiobook by humorist John Hodgman is funny. More surprising, though, are the emotional depths Hodgman reaches in this assortment of essays.... He brings the expected dose of sardonic humor to his narration but is also a gifted storyteller. With expert timing and pacing, he explores the foibles and malaise of middle age... This John Hodgman is more bittersweet than his comedic personas but also more compelling for those who appreciate some hard truths within their comedy." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    57
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    49
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Storytime with my favourite weird dad

I loved this book! I listened to it at work and at times found myself having to stifle a giggle or wipe away a tear.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I want John Hodgman to be my weird dad

I love John Hodgman. He seems like the kind of guy you could be friends with at any age. He has a way of being introspective and humorous at the same time. He's firm in what he believes to be correct- "a hotdog is not a sandwich" no matter what the Merriam-Webster dictionary says, but also "people like what they like" and that's okay too.

I listen to John's podcast- Judge John Hodgman on Maximumfun.org, I've listened to all of his books (and all the books he narrates), and I can tell you that this is my favourite. While his other books are funny in their own rite, this book is personal. For the first time I know of, he's shared his personal moments with his audience. He seems to have always been very protective of his family, and I very much love that he is willing to share his thoughts with us.

As a middle aged white man with weird facial hair, you might think that he has nothing to offer you, but what is great about John is that he makes room at the table. Not only does he make room but he politely tells other white men to kindly shut their mouths. I appreciate his insight, the love he has for the people and things around them. He gives you permission to geek out about Dungeons and Dragons, Game of Thrones and Sci-Fi.

I will absolutely be listing to this one more than once. His performance of Vacationland makes it SO SO great. His voice is calming and his timing and emphasis makes it even better.

#audible1

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hilarious

Hodgman is a delight, and his delivery of his own words is wonderful. I have enjoyed everything I've read of his so far, as well as books he didn't write but he did read. I'm looking forward to more!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Highly recommend

Really good. If you like Hodgman you'll like this book. If you don't know Hodgman, try this book anyway.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really Wonderful

A very funny and touching book. I would recommend it whether or not you're familiar with John Hodgman's comedy.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Don't waste your time

I want to hate this book, but it is so lifeless and banal that I can't really be bothered. Apparently I was under the mistaken impression that "Humour" is supposed to be funny, rather than a pointless collection of boring stories about nothing.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tiffany Pearce
  • 2017-11-02

Not your typical coming of age story

If you've ever liked anything fromJohn Hodgman- Vacstionlabd is for you. If you have never heard of John Hodgman-re-evaluate your life. And also Vacationland is for you.

Layered with absurdist humor and sober sincerity, Hodgman captures snapshots of moments between his mid-twenties and early forties to tell his own coming of age story from early to mid adulthood. The book deals with family, and friendship, and the meeting place of who you were and who you have become.

Moments in Hodgman's life and their place in the world are described so beautifully and cleverly that I often found myself simultaneously laughing and weeping while listening on the subway (which-yes-made me look like a crazy person).

Also, both having read some of Vacationland in print and listened to all of it on audio, having it read out loud to me by Hodgman makes something that's already great even better. I would read from my fiancée's hard cover of the book, but even then I would go back and re-listen to the audible (buzz-marketing) version just so that I could listen to Hodgman tell the stories himself.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bronwyn Soell
  • 2017-10-30

It really grew on me.

Even funnier than I expected, the author has a droll, deadpan delivery that is hilarious to listen to. Seemingly random anecdotes all come together to deliver thoughtful and conclusions that were more meaningful than I expected. It made me want to go to Maine- even if the water there is made of hate.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lili
  • 2017-12-03

Funny, a bit uneven, a bit TMI

There are some very funny moments in this memoir, and John’s narration is excellent. It is interesting to hear about his childhood as an only, rather indulged kid, who went on to Yale, and became a literary agent, before becoming a writer as well a comedic actor.

The book goes into the time spent in his summer homes in Massachusetts and Maine with his family. The house in Massachusetts left to him by his parents. At times he is genuinely funny, at times he tells stories that will make you cringe a bit as they are deeply personal and not terribly flattering.

I appreciated that he recognized his privilege as a wealthy white male moving through the the world, and he shares his perspective on our world with insight, humor, and the ever present self deprecation. If you like John Hodgman, I think you will like his book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • M. Spencer
  • 2017-10-29

Funny, happy, sad, melancholic

John Hodgeman has a self awareness that grants him a rare sense of humor. This part-memoir part-reflection gives the reader a glimpse into the forces that have shaped his life. If you are a fan of John in any way, you will likely enjoy this book thoroughly.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Carrlane Quackenbush
  • 2019-02-02

Boring and self-absorbed

Is the author a famous person? I dunno. He drones on about his beard and his family. Not funny, not interesting, no big lessons. don't wast your time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bgrl82
  • 2017-12-19

confession

I'll confess, I didn't know who John Hodgman was before seeing him talk about this book briefly on TDS with Trevor Noah. I thought he was hilarious so I gave the book a shot and I'm so glad I did. I laughed so much (literally out loud) while driving my car. There's so much truth and wisdom and hilarity. I did a search for the famous author he mentions (turns out is one of my favorites) and now I know random trivia about him lol. I just love this book and will be listening again soon.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Peter R. Stmartin
  • 2017-10-30

Live The Maine Experience

without actually going there.

That is how Maine prefers it anyway.

For a book about Maine, Hodgman delivers. Wonderful, Self-Aware Wit in his humor.

This book makes you feel smarter than you actually are.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary Christine Delea
  • 2018-04-06

Thoroughly enjoyable.

Because it is a memoir, having the author read this book made listening even better. I laughed out loud a lot, and there are also very touching moments. I am someone with ties to both Massachusetts and Maine, so I think that deepened my pleasure, as many of the chapters take place in those two states. However, i don’t think ties to New England are necessary to enjoy this book.

Hodgman touches on many subjects with humor and honesty. There is much about being a son and a father, an only child and a slightly famous person, an odd teen and a homeowner.

Intelligent humor. Family. Fame. Fitting in. Vacations. Privilege. Cairns. Growing up. There is a lot here to love. I highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dylan
  • 2017-11-06

Both poignantly personal but also broadly insightful

I was tempted to take a flyer on this book since I heard Hoffman’s narration of another book (Year Zero by Rob Reid, also hilarious in the vein of Hitchhiker’s Guide). Having grown up in Maine, I was pushed over the edge, to hear how “Vacationland” was described from someone from away. While it takes John a while to get to Maine in the story, retracing his life from his teen years, the journey was well worth it. His story is often hilarious, at times mildly neurotic, frequently touching, with meaningful, really insightful perspectives on today’s society, and the nature of privilege within it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • A.Jakubisin
  • 2017-11-02

Beautiful and funny

John Hodgman is one of the best storytellers whom I have ever read. This particular audiobook is both hilarious and touching. I couldn’t have chosen a better listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful