Excerpt: Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond

About the Book:

Harper Collins

For all fans of John Hughes and his hit films such as National Lampoon’s VacationSixteen Candles, and Home Alone, comes Jason Diamond’s hilarious memoir of growing up obsessed with the iconic filmmaker’s movies—a preoccupation that eventually convinces Diamond he should write Hughes’ biography and travel to New York City on a quest that is as funny as it is hopeless.

For as long as Jason Diamond can remember, he’s been infatuated with John Hughes’ movies. From the outrageous, raunchy antics in National Lampoon’s Vacation to the teenage angst in The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink to the insanely clever and unforgettable Home Alone, Jason could not get enough of Hughes’ films. And so the seed was planted in his mind that it should fall to him to write a biography of his favorite filmmaker. It didn’t matter to Jason that he had no qualifications, training, background, platform, or direction. Thus went the years-long, delusional, earnest, and assiduous quest to reach his goal. But no book came out of these years, and no book will. What he did get was a story that fills the pages of this unconventional, hilarious memoir. 

In Searching for John Hughes, Jason tells how a Jewish kid from a broken home in a Chicago suburb—sometimes homeless, always restless—found comfort and connection in the likewise broken lives in the suburban Chicago of John Hughes’ oeuvre. He moved to New York to become a writer. He started to write a book he had no business writing. In the meantime, he brewed coffee and guarded cupcake cafes. All the while, he watched John Hughes movies religiously.

Though his original biography of Hughes has long since been abandoned, Jason has discovered he is a writer through and through. And the adversity of going for broke has now been transformed into wisdom. Or, at least, a really, really good story. 

In other words, this is a memoir of growing up. One part big dream, one part big failure, one part John Hughes movies, one part Chicago, and one part New York. It’s a story of what comes after the “Go for it!” part of the command to young creatives to pursue their dreams—no matter how absurd they might seem at first.

Read an Excerpt:

Featured in April/May 2017 Issue: The Eighties

I wasn’t paying attention to the people waiting in line for cupcakes; I was just looking up at a night sky dotted with flurries of snow bravely falling onto rooftops and parked cars. Their only purpose in this world was to make things more magical to those queued up for an authentic Magnolia Bakery experience. I thought hard about the short lives of the snowflakes to help me pass the time. I tried to see how many I could count, timing them to see which ones lasted the longest before turning into little streaks running down the glass window of the bookstore across the street, and looking at the faces of people as they stretched their necks upward trying to catch flakes on their tongues, but I just wanted to go home. 

Normally I did my job on autopilot. I’d see one person walk out, and I’d let in another one, maybe two in at a time. I didn’t have to talk to anybody if I didn’t feel like it; most of the time I’d just stand there and get lost in thought. Spending my evenings standing outside of a bakery made popular by a few seconds on a premium cable show about a writer who has a massive apartment, countless pairs of obscenely expensive shoes, and one column that had recently finished its run. Interacting with other humans every now and again helps the time go by, but I would try not to. 

This was not one of those shifts. 

From Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond, Harper Collins, harpercollins.com. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. 

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