Read À la Cart: The Secret Lives of Grocery Shoppers by Hillary Carlip Online


A comic original in the tradition of Tracey Ullman and Lily Tomlin—with Cindy Sherman's eye—Hillary Carlip transforms herself into America's most unforgettable grocery shoppers. It's happened to all of us—we find, tucked away in the corner of our shopping cart, someone's discarded grocery list. Who's the person buying "Whole milk, heavy cream, ice cream, cheese, and Gas-ExA comic original in the tradition of Tracey Ullman and Lily Tomlin—with Cindy Sherman's eye—Hillary Carlip transforms herself into America's most unforgettable grocery shoppers. It's happened to all of us—we find, tucked away in the corner of our shopping cart, someone's discarded grocery list. Who's the person buying "Whole milk, heavy cream, ice cream, cheese, and Gas-Ex?" Why would someone need to write down "Coors and Oreos" on a matchbook cover—couldn't he just remember those two items? And what's the person like who scrawled their list on a PROZAC notepad? Taking her clues from the items listed, the types of paper written on, the handwriting, and even misspellings ("Aunt Spray"), Hillary saw that each list—at once mundane and personal—offered an intimate peek into a complete stranger's life. She chose 26 lists and imagined who the shoppers might be. She then transformed herself into all 26 people, one by one, literally stepping into each character—all ages, genders, and ethnicities—with hair, makeup, outfits, and one Fu Manchu. Photographer Barbara Green then captured unforgettable images of Hillary portraying these shoppers at their neighborhood markets. Hillary came to love these characters, so her accompanying stories for each are as poignant and hilarious as the photographs. She brings to life richly imagined inner worlds, including one for macho Woody, a self-described "Lady's Man with NO BANKRUPTCIES ready to meet just one Special Lady with NO KIDS." After getting to know these grocery shoppers through Miss Carlip's dedicated voyeurism, going to the supermarket will never be the same....

Title : À la Cart: The Secret Lives of Grocery Shoppers
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781905264179
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 128 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

À la Cart: The Secret Lives of Grocery Shoppers Reviews

  • Gina
    2019-05-04 03:48

    This was a very quick read--more of an artsy-coffee-table-book than something you would read before you go to bed. The book has a bizarre and quirky premise--the author has been collecting people's discarded grocery lists for the last several years. She picked 24 or 26 of her favorites and made up a story about the person, complete with picture (all of the pictures are her, dressed up as these people--very bizarrre!!). It was a very original idea, and it was a funny book! I was only disappointed it didn't contain more grocery lists--I would have liked it if she had included an index with other grocery lists she'd found, so we could draw our own conclusions about them!

  • dirt
    2019-05-03 10:54

    I fondly remember finding the shopping list:p towelst paper

  • jess
    2019-04-19 06:07

    Discarded, anonymous grocery shopping lists are the material for Hillary Carlip's performance of these imagined characters. From a Suicide Girl to a new widower octaganarian, Carlip reaches across class, race, gender and generational lines to find some characters that are deliberate and diverse. I traded the book back & forth with my stepson as we read the stories out loud to each other. We were both amused as the stories were extrapolated from handwriting, spelling, grammar, and stationary. The portraits of Hillary Carlip are funny, too. "She even dresses up like a guy," my kid pointed out, giggling. This book skips the intimacy of strangers you might get from, say, Post Secret, but provides enough of the voyeuristic delight to keep me engaged. Thanks, Timberland Public Library, for stocking it!

  • Alicia
    2019-05-09 06:03

    A combination of Found and a game writers love to play: create a story of this individual's life based on only the smallest details (clothing, record collection, etc., in this case, shopping/to-do list). Hillary Carlip's snapshots, though, both photographic and biographic, seem more mocking and snide than necessary. I appreciate that she is a comedian, but the tone of this coffee table book really turned me off. I would be interested in reading her account of her own life, perhaps, but the creation of these alter egos rubbed me the wrong way.

  • Meghan
    2019-04-30 05:47

    For fans of Amy Sedaris. Carlip takes discarded grocery lists and creates a character and backstory for them, then dresses up as the character and goes shopping at a grocery store.

  • Eliza
    2019-05-05 10:15

    This was a really interesting and original idea. I won't say that it didn't live up to its potential because it's probably exactly what Carlip wanted it to be. It's more accurate to say it didn't live up to my hopes for it. Most of the fictional biographies made me sad for the subjects. Almost everyone was some combination of lonely, addicted, old/ill, unappreciated, and disappointed in life, and several were in the sex trade. It's not that sadness should be eradicated from entertainment, but a coffee table book with beautiful pictures and an interesting concept should have more mirth than this book has. I realize that the human condition isn't simple and I agree that any depiction of it should include the hard things, but it should include the delightful things, too. This book didn't have enough of them. It became like a chore to finish.

  • Kym
    2019-04-22 08:02

    I was looking forward to some kind of true-life tale of what our grocery habits say about us, and that is NOT what this book is AT ALL. The author has been obsessed with finding grocery lists discarded by other shoppers, and trying to figure out something about the people who wrote them. I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed this...her portrayals of other people are sometimes funny, sometimes cynical, and sometimes a little sad or even hopeful. I think that Hillary Carlip is pretty gutsy to put her assumptions out there. I thought that I would find her judgmental or overly cynical about other people, but instead I found that she has a very very good sense of people and their smallest foibles. This is a fun fun read, but not to be taken too seriously.

  • Joyce McCombs
    2019-04-22 09:04

    BRILLIANT... and why didn't I think of this first? I love grocery lists - always have, and like the author, considered it a red letter day if I found one in a shopping cart or blowing across a parking lot. Now Hillary Carlip has taken MY idea and written a book, conjured characters and created a whole life behind scraps of paper. You'll be amazed and enchanted at the photos in the book...all of them the author.. all impossible to believe they are her. I read it in one "fell swoop"...and can't wait to read it again. You'll smile and ponder at the same time. And next time you go to the store... make a list!

  • Erin
    2019-04-26 06:00

    Clever concept. This woman has collected discarded grocery lists over the years and has turned those lists into people (based on the paper it's on, the handwriting and what is ON the list). She names them, and gives them personalities and lives. For the book, she dressed up like them (male, female, white, black, whatever) and posed in grocery store isles so we could have visuals. It's very funny. I can't believe every picture is of her!Sadly, I felt the narrative was a little weak for its potential. But overall, fun to keep on the coffee table.

  • Malbadeen
    2019-04-29 05:51

    I had high hopes for this book. I HATE going to the grocery store but I LOVE looking in peoples carts, so i was thinking this was going to be the perfect solution. Instead it showed grocery lists with a photo and a brief description of the people that had made the lists. the writing was crappy, felt formulaic like a 5th grader had written it for an assignment and the photo's lacked something, oh ya- the CONTENTS OF THE CART. come on. show me your food, your frozen, your canned, your bulk, your impulse buys - I want to see it all!

  • Jess
    2019-05-09 11:51

    An odd mix of a book. Carlip's been collecting lost grocery store lists since she was a teen. With each found list, she'd imagine the person who lost it and try to figure out their story. She takes things a step further in this book by dressing up as each and going shopping in character.It's OK; I flipped through all the photos and lists to see her take. Found objects can be fun. The imagined stories are less successful. I made it through maybe four then stopped and switched to list and photo skimming.

  • Pamela
    2019-05-15 12:10

    This is a short, wacky, almost coffe table-type book...but definitely entertaining. Carlip has a fascination with grocery lists she found over the years (and some she went digging for in dumpsters), she created characters for the people who supposedly wrote them, and then enlisted a make-up artist to bring those characters to life with herself as the subject. It's a compilation of short vignettes that will add a little laughter to your day. As Amy Sedaris so fittingly put it, "add it to your shopping list."

  • Ladiibbug
    2019-05-13 05:56

    Library Impulse PickPerformance Artist and author Hillary Carlip collects discarded grocery lists.Based on the items listed, handwriting, etc., the author composes a "life story" look at the list's original owner, and dresses up like the person she has envisioned.The photos of HC as the person who wrote the list take her across gender, age, racial lines ... interesting and offbeat *g*.My favorite is the short shopping list written on a matchbook cover: Coors, Oreos.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-03 08:51

    Interesting concept, but not what I thought it would be. The author, who is a performance artist as well, took on the persona of 25 different "people" based on what was written on their shopping list. The physical transformations are pretty amazing, and it's hard to believe they're all the same woman. But the book and writing itself was pretty blah. Milk Eggs Vodka did the whole look-at-discarded-grocery-lists-thing better.

  • Recynd
    2019-05-09 04:09

    I love the idea of this book: after a lifetime of collecting discarded shopping lists, Carlip selected her favorites and created personas for each of the lists' author. She then transformed herself into each persona and had photos taken while she shopped as the imitating life!I adore passionate people, especially when they follow that passion. You have to respect that. Well, YOU don't, but I do...

  • Evan
    2019-05-11 04:11

    The book is in a similar vein as "Milk Eggs Vodka" however instead of making fun of the found grocery lists themselves, the author takes it upon herself to invent the character that wrote the grocery list. Then she not only gives these characters a backstory, she also photographs herself dressed up as how she "sees" each character. It's a pretty neat idea, I just wish it would have been funnier to the reader, and not just to the author.

  • meredith ann
    2019-05-08 03:49

    i saw this book on a table at a barnes and noble and the cover, along with the quote from amy sedaris, caught my eye. thankfully, the library had a copy so i checked it out and i'm glad that i didn't buy it. while it's a great concept, i felt it didn't work very well in book form - if i had seen this as an art exhibit, i would have enjoyed it much more. carlip's transformations are incredible but again, i wasn't really feeling this book.

  • Coffeeboss
    2019-05-15 07:55

    I love the idea of this simple coffee-table book. Hillary Carlip created looks and backstories for the people she imagined who discarded their shopping lists that she found in grocery store parking lots. We used to create similar narratives for poor real estate agents and car salesmen who sent into their ad photos at this magazine company I used to work for. But since we had photos of real people, I guess we couldn't have published our interpretive stories. :)

  • Leslie
    2019-05-01 05:55

    A print performance piece rather than a story, A La Cart, will be enjoyed by fans of Amy and David Sedaris and others in that genre. Aficionados of grocery shopping will be horrified to imagine their discarded lists picked up by Carlip.....Amusing and light - just right to relax with before bed.

  • Jim
    2019-05-13 10:51

    6 star book. wow.freaking amazing book, anyone who wants to learn to write or teaches writing in high school or university should get this book and study/teach it.26 found grocery lists, carlip creates the people that dropped them-writing a short essay in first person- and is then photographed as them.this is cosplay to the nth degree.

  • Joanne
    2019-04-21 03:58

    Not what I had originally thought it would be - the author "dressed up" as people and constructed fictitious lives of each based on a found grocery list. Weird.

  • Spencer
    2019-04-26 03:53

    this is such a good idea for a book. find people's shopping lists and then dress up like how you think they would look like.

  • Janie
    2019-05-04 05:02

    What a great idea. I've often wondered about the people who've written the notes I've found, and the photographs are amazing. It's hard to believe that each person is the author.

  • Chelsea
    2019-05-17 11:55

    funny little book you can read in about a half hour. the picture are what makes it. the bios... nothing special.

  • Deborah
    2019-05-05 08:02

    I loved this book! What a creative idea to imagine the life stories of people based on their shopping lists. And pretty amazing that the author was able to transform herself into all of the imagined characters. It was really hard to believe that each character was actually the same person. Fun book!

  • Leslie Weber
    2019-05-13 03:49

    I like the idea the author had. It seemed like a neat concept and I'll admit that I would try to imagine the person based on each list before looking at the author's interpretation. However, the way it was done just felt like a silly private game the author did to entertain herself. I actually didn't agree with any of her interpretations of the people- ex: "Jet", the glamorous lesbian photographer. Sort of just looked like a list a wife wrote for her oblivious husband. Either way, it was just sort of a weird idea that I guess wasn't executed well enough for me to think it worked. perhaps I'm too critical and maybe people found this amusing. personally it just felt like a waste of time- for her and the reader.

  • Nancy
    2019-05-03 10:13

    That one person could so convincingly be 26! -- ranging widely in age and ethnicity -- is a triumph of makeup, clothes, wigs, and Hillary Carlip's posings. The book asks to be more than this, but this is all that really works for me. I find myself irked that she never once mentions Cindy Sherman, who is so clearly her predessor in these aisles. (Is she not?) (And why must one mention ones predessors?)

  • DeAnna Rigney
    2019-05-11 05:47

    The author has collected found grocery lists for years, and here she has taken some of these lists and created characters based on the lists. She then dressed up as each character and was photographed in a grocery store playing the made-up role. So with each entry you have a real list, a snippet of a story, and a picture about these made-up people. This was very imaginative and Amy Sedaris-like, and quite a hoot.

  • Anncar77
    2019-05-16 09:16

    I saw this sitting randomly on a display in Borders were it didn't belong and it caught my eye. This woman is hilarious! She imagines characters based on shopping lists she has collected, dresses up as them, and writes elaborate character histories about them. Most of the time she hits it dead on. One of my fav: written on a book of matches are the words oreos and coors. She creates this creepy guy, Woody, based on it. I really whipped through this one because I couldn't get enough!

  • Yasmin
    2019-05-05 07:11

    "Carlip rehashes every tired cliché about who people are based on their income and where they come from. It’s like watching Cindy Sherman pose as Anna Deavere Smith performing on race in America, and I don”t mean that as a compliment. Sure, the book’s meant to be a joke. But what and whom are we laughing at, exactly?"The rest of my review is here: