The Big Rewind

The Big Rewind

A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture

Nathan Rabin viewed pop culture as a life-affirming form of escape throughout his childhood and adolescence. As an adult, pop culture became his life. Head writer for A.V. Club for more than a decade, Rabin uses specific books, songs, albums, films, and television shows as springboards for dissecting his Dickensian life story in his acclaimed memoir The Big Rewind.

Rabin writes movingly and hilariously about how pop culture helped save him from suicidal despair, institutionalization, and parental abandonment during a childhood that sent him ricocheting from a mental hospital to a foster home to a group home for emotionally disturbed adolescents. A fun book about depression, The Big Rewind is ultimately a touching narrative of a motherless child’s search for family and acceptance, and a darkly comic valentine to Rabin’s lovable, hard-luck dad.

With comic dissertations on everything from The Simpsons to The Great Gatsby, and from Grey Gardens to Dr. Dre, The Big Rewind chronicles Rabin’s improbable yet all-too-true journey through life, and its fortuitous intersections with the dizzyingly wonderful world of entertainment.
Choose a format:
  • Scribner | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416556213 | 
  • July 2010
List Price $23.99
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About the Author

Nathan Rabin
Charlie Simokaitis

Nathan Rabin

Nathan Rabin is a staff writer for The Dissolve, a new film website from the popular music website Pitchfork. Previously, he was the head writer for The A.V. Club, the entertainment guide of The Onion, a position he held until recently since he was a college student at University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1997. Rabin is also the author of a memoir, The Big Rewind, and an essay collection based on one of his columns, My Year of Flops. He most recently collaborated with pop parodist "weird Al" Yankovic on a coffee table book titled Weird Al: The Book. Rabin’s writing has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Spin, The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Nerve, and Modern Humorist. He lives in Chicago with his wife.


Author Revealed

Q. how did you come to write The Big Rewind?

A. A few years back, I wrote a manuscript about my experiences flying from Chicago to Los Angeles every weekend to tape AMC's "Movie Club With John Ridley", a poorly rated, mildly disreputable basic-cable movie review panel critics and audiences alike heralded as "short-lived" and "cancelled". It didn't get published but I learned a valuable lesson: people don't want to spend their hard-earned cash on books about television shows nobody has heard of. I quickly abandoned planned oral histories of "Hello Larry" and "Cleghorne!" and decided, on my agent's advice, to write a book proposal for a memoir that filtered my hilariously traumatic real-life tale of growing up in first a mental hospital, then a wealthy foster family whose patience and generosity knew only strict, unyielding boundaries and finally in a group home for emotionally disturbed adolescents through the sturdy prism of pop culture. It was an opportunity to crassly exploit a lifetime worth of psychological pain for monetary gain. Despite a tradition of good taste and solid judgment, the good folks at Scribner inexplicably bought my book proposal. I wrote "The Big Rewind" while working on the inaugural season of "My Year of Flops", a popular online series on famous cinematic failures I do for the Onion A.V Club, where I have toiled as the Head Writer for something like a decade. I like to think of "The Big Rewind" and "My Year of Flops" as Siamese twins created in the same tainted womb, so I am delighted to be able to announce that Scribner be publishing a "My Year of Flops" book filled with what SCTV would call "Golden Classics" as well as plenty of awesome original, all-new material. In conclusion, buy my book.

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