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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Mr. Know-It-All

Mr. Know-It-All

The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder

John Waters

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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No one knows more about everything—especially everything rude, clever, and offensively compelling—than John Waters. The man in the pencil-thin mustache, auteur of the transgressive movie classics Pink Flamingos, Polyester, the original Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and A Dirty Shame, is one of the world’s great sophisticates, and in Mr. Know-It-All he serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; more important, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and yes, how to cheat death itself. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: “Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.”

Studded with cameos of Waters’s stars, from Divine and Mink Stole to Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner, Patricia Hearst, and Tracey Ullman, and illustrated with unseen photos from Waters’s personal collection, Mr. Know-It-All is Waters’s most hypnotically readable, upsetting, revelatory book—another instant Waters classic.

“Waters doesn’t kowtow to the received wisdom, he flips it the bird . . . [Waters] has the ability to show humanity at its most ridiculous and make that funny rather than repellent.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Carsick becomes a portrait not just of America’s desolate freeway nodes—though they’re brilliantly evoked—but of American fame itself.” —Lawrence Osborne, T… More…

No one knows more about everything—especially everything rude, clever, and offensively compelling—than John Waters. The man in the pencil-thin mustache, auteur of the transgressive movie classics Pink Flamingos, Polyester, the original Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and A Dirty Shame, is one of the world’s great sophisticates, and in Mr. Know-It-All he serves it up raw: how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it; more important, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk; and yes, how to cheat death itself. Through it all, Waters swears by one undeniable truth: “Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.”

Studded with cameos of Waters’s stars, from Divine and Mink Stole to Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner, Patricia Hearst, and Tracey Ullman, and illustrated with unseen photos from Waters’s personal collection, Mr. Know-It-All is Waters’s most hypnotically readable, upsetting, revelatory book—another instant Waters classic.

“Waters doesn’t kowtow to the received wisdom, he flips it the bird . . . [Waters] has the ability to show humanity at its most ridiculous and make that funny rather than repellent.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Carsick becomes a portrait not just of America’s desolate freeway nodes—though they’re brilliantly evoked—but of American fame itself.” —Lawrence Osborne, The New York Times Book Review

Less…

MR. KNOW-IT-ALL


Somehow I became respectable. I don’t know how, the last film I directed got some terrible reviews and was rated NC-17. Six people in my personal phone book have been sentenced to life in prison. I did an art piece called...

Praise for Mr. Know-It-All

"An exuberantly transgressive American filmmaker gets down, dirty, and weird about life, art, and career . . . Comic and rude but always compulsively readable, Waters demonstrates that he is not only first among Filth Elders; he is also a keen observer of American culture. Wickedly smart and consistently laugh-out-loud funny." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Nothing can squelch [John Waters'] outrageous imagination . . . If you don't laugh loud and often, check your pulse, then your breath on a mirror." —Ray Olson, Booklist

"Endlessly entertaining . . . Waters’s musings are as funny and eccentric as his films; longtime fans will be delighted with the treasure trove of insights into his brilliant oeuvre." —Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

John Waters

John Waters’ books Role Models (2010) and Carsick (2014) were national bestsellers, and his spoken-word shows This Filthy World and A John Waters Christmas continue to be performed around the world. Indecent Exposure, a retrospective exhibition of Waters’s acclaimed artwork, was recently shown at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. He is at work on a novel.

image of John Waterso
© Greg Gorman

Meet the Author

May 20 - June 1, 2019

Meet filmmaker, actor, writer, and artist John Waters (Hairspray, Pink Flamingos) as he discusses his hilarious memoir, Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder.

“If you don’t laugh loud and often, check your pulse, then your breath on a mirror.” —Ray Olson, Booklist

READ THE FULL EXCERPT →

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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