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A Pirate Looks at Fifty
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About the Author

Jimmy Buffettwas a legend of popular culture as the composer of such classic songs as "Margaritaville," "Come Monday," and "Cheeseburger in Paradise."He recorded more than thirty albums, most of which went gold, platinum, or multiplatinum, and his sold-out concert tours were an annual rite of summer for his fans. In addition to his musical credits, Buffett is one of only seven authors with #1New York Timesbestsellers in both fiction (Where Is Joe Merchant?) and nonfiction (A Pirate Looks at Fifty). He had anotherNew York Timesbestseller with the short story collectionTales from Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffett died in 2023.

Reviews

Jimmy Buffett "has gregarious charm . . . and a bottomless well of stories to tell. . . . Reading A Pirate Looks at Fifty is like sitting with Buffett at a beachside bar, listening to him spin tales . . . discourse on life . . . and share nifty bits of geography and history."
--Time

"Fulfilling his peripatetic pirate lifestyle fantasies, rocker Jimmy Buffett took his family on a three-week trek around the Caribbean in celebration of his 50th. His colorful travelogue is interspersed with memoirs of his youth and music career--both of which revolve around his continuing search for the perfect fishing spot. But Buffett also imparts useful understandings gained from childhood through parenthood, and a valuable account of what it was like growing up in the '50s."
--USA Today

"The fun-loving Man from Margaritaville parses his hell-bent half-century."
--People

"Buffett takes the occasion of his fiftieth birthday to tell us about himself, and he does so with candor and modesty. The person who emerges is not the sort of rock star who trashes hotel rooms and slugs paparazzi, but a charming, decent, wry, kind, and contemplative man . . . . Buffett's evocation of the languid, louche Key West of the 1970's draws on the same well of affection as his best songs."
--The New York Times Book Review

"America's . . . good-time guy joins Hemingway, Dr. Seuss, and Steinbeck as one of the few who have topped both the fiction and nonfiction bestseller lists."
--Rolling Stone

The breezy pop craftsman of "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" famously spends most of his time sailing, trotting out 1970s chestnuts on the summer tour circuit‘and writing. Buffett's bestselling Tales from Margaritaville (1989) and Where Is Joe Merchant? (1992), among other books, created a world of sun-baked characters whose doings bore some resemblance to those of their author. This memoir draws back the curtain between fact and fiction, and genially takes stock in a manner likely to appeal to the Me generation. Though he rambles, repeats himself and may even raise hackles ("I have been too warped by Catholicism not to be cynical"), Buffett is earnest and unapologetic in his hedonism, seeing his mock pirate's life as the antithesis of the conformity foisted on him as a child in Alabama. In a series of loosely chronological vignettes, Buffett quickly takes us from his bar-band beginnings to a brush with death when he crashes one of his fleet of seaplanes. A lower-latitude voyage with his family (in a newer, bigger plane) to celebrate his 50th birthday makes up the bulk of the book, and takes them from Florida to the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Colombia and the Amazon. The diaristic logbook that Buffett keeps along the way provides endless opportunities to muse on the music business; his older, wilder ways; navigation and, on the horizon, approaching mortality. Buffett's prose won't itself win him more "parrotheads" (as his fans are called), but those with enough patience or reverence to wade through long descriptions of beloved gear, favorite books or "fucking tikki pukki drinks" will find beneath these amblings a disarmingly direct character. Simultaneous audio, CD and large-print edition; author tour. (July)

Jimmy Buffett "has gregarious charm . . . and a bottomless well of stories to tell. . . . Reading A Pirate Looks at Fifty is like sitting with Buffett at a beachside bar, listening to him spin tales . . . discourse on life . . . and share nifty bits of geography and history."
--Time

"Fulfilling his peripatetic pirate lifestyle fantasies, rocker Jimmy Buffett took his family on a three-week trek around the Caribbean in celebration of his 50th. His colorful travelogue is interspersed with memoirs of his youth and music career--both of which revolve around his continuing search for the perfect fishing spot. But Buffett also imparts useful understandings gained from childhood through parenthood, and a valuable account of what it was like growing up in the '50s."
--USA Today

"The fun-loving Man from Margaritaville parses his hell-bent half-century."
--People

"Buffett takes the occasion of his fiftieth birthday to tell us about himself, and he does so with candor and modesty. The person who emerges is not the sort of rock star who trashes hotel rooms and slugs paparazzi, but a charming, decent, wry, kind, and contemplative man . . . . Buffett's evocation of the languid, louche Key West of the 1970's draws on the same well of affection as his best songs."
--The New York Times Book Review

"America's . . . good-time guy joins Hemingway, Dr. Seuss, and Steinbeck as one of the few who have topped both the fiction and nonfiction bestseller lists."
--Rolling Stone

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