Mathews has been with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for more than 20 years, working his way up from receptionist to vice president of promotion, a position through which he has brought global attention to the organization and its mission. He is good at coming up with unusual angles to promote PETA and animal-rights issues, and he devotes much of this autobiography to demonstrating his creativity in doing so. The writing is certainly entertaining and makes for an amusing way to spend an hour or two. Unfortunately, the celebrity names and references fall like hailstones and do almost as much damage, stopping the story's flow dead in its tracks. In the end, the reader feels that Mathews is using the same techniques to promote himself as he does to promote PETA, which is a shame, as his life deserves more respect than that. Still, there is no doubt that this book will sell well in our celebrity-obsessed culture. Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/06.]--Alicia Graybill, Nebraska Talking Books & Braille Service, Lincoln Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Having grown up poor and gay, with a penchant for punk rock and Lawrence Welk, Mathews, who is now campaign chief for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had a rough start. But his camp, cosmopolitan and crass memoir is like a life lesson from the Island of Misfit Toys: a study of the unwitting heroism and adventures of an outsider dedicated to a cause. Less a treatise than a picaresque tale, his book wouldn't be complete without a bit of persuasion, whether detailing the horrors of the fur industry, factory farming or animal experimentation. But he's as willing to make fun of himself as he is of his many targets-including Vogue editor Anna Wintour (who, he says, "looks as if she has constant, painful gas") and deli-meat-hurling Iowan children. Then again, this is a man who dresses up regularly in a carrot costume. Aided by humor, luck and friends like Pamela Anderson and Morrissey, Mathews makes clear there is savvy to his controversial methods. "The flair you bring to a protest is as important as the issues themselves-if you want to reach beyond the small core of whoever might care about an issue." Those at odds with Mathews's ideals are bound to find him irritating, but open-minded readers will discover a charming polemicist. (Apr. 17) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.