An irreverent and charming collection of deeply personal essays about the joys of low pop culture and bad taste, exploring coming of age in the 2000s in the age of Hot Topic, Creed, and frosted lip gloss—from the James Beard Award-nominated writer of the Catapult column "Store-Bought Is Fine” Tacky is about the power of pop culture—like any art—to imprint itself on our lives and shape our experiences, no matter one's commitment to "good" taste. These fourteen essays are a nostalgia-soaked antidote to the millennial generation's obsession with irony, putting the aesthetics we hate to love—snakeskin pants, Sex and the City, Cheesecake Factory's gargantuan menu—into kinder and sharper perspective.
Each essay revolves around a different maligned (and yet, Rax would argue, vital) cultural artifact, providing thoughtful, even romantic meditations on desire, love, and the power of nostalgia. An essay about the gym-tan-laundry exuberance of Jersey Shore morphs into an excavation of grief over the death of her father; in "You Wanna Be On Top," Rax writes about friendship and early aughts girlhood; in another, Guy Fieri helps her heal from an abusive relationship.
The result is a collection that captures the personal and generational experience of finding joy in caring just a little too much with clarity, heartfelt honesty, and Rax King's trademark humor.