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Wacky Chicks: Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women

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In his bestselling Wacky Chicks, irreverent social commentator and humor writer Simon Doonan introduces readers to a bracing cross section of exuberantly unconventional women: comedienne Amy Sedaris; fashion designer turned park ranger Spider Fawke; Warhol muse Brigid Berlin; Suzanne Bartsch, the woman who showed Madonna how to vogue; and many more. Distinguished primarily In his bestselling Wacky Chicks, irreverent social commentator and humor writer Simon Doonan introduces readers to a bracing cross section of exuberantly unconventional women: comedienne Amy Sedaris; fashion designer turned park ranger Spider Fawke; Warhol muse Brigid Berlin; Suzanne Bartsch, the woman who showed Madonna how to vogue; and many more. Distinguished primarily by their wild originality and rule-breaking chutzpah, these women defy rules, shape the cultural landscape, and enrich the world. They are about as diverse a flock as you can imagine, but all of them are Belligerent, Resilient, Uninhibited, Naughty, Creative, and Hilarious (B.R.U.N.C.H. for short). In a word, they are Wacky, and they are ready to enlighten you. A book that pays tribute to the wild and unstoppable female in each of us, Wacky Chicks is the ultimate guide to embracing your inner rebel.


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In his bestselling Wacky Chicks, irreverent social commentator and humor writer Simon Doonan introduces readers to a bracing cross section of exuberantly unconventional women: comedienne Amy Sedaris; fashion designer turned park ranger Spider Fawke; Warhol muse Brigid Berlin; Suzanne Bartsch, the woman who showed Madonna how to vogue; and many more. Distinguished primarily In his bestselling Wacky Chicks, irreverent social commentator and humor writer Simon Doonan introduces readers to a bracing cross section of exuberantly unconventional women: comedienne Amy Sedaris; fashion designer turned park ranger Spider Fawke; Warhol muse Brigid Berlin; Suzanne Bartsch, the woman who showed Madonna how to vogue; and many more. Distinguished primarily by their wild originality and rule-breaking chutzpah, these women defy rules, shape the cultural landscape, and enrich the world. They are about as diverse a flock as you can imagine, but all of them are Belligerent, Resilient, Uninhibited, Naughty, Creative, and Hilarious (B.R.U.N.C.H. for short). In a word, they are Wacky, and they are ready to enlighten you. A book that pays tribute to the wild and unstoppable female in each of us, Wacky Chicks is the ultimate guide to embracing your inner rebel.

30 review for Wacky Chicks: Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tassa DeSalada

    If only I could meet Simon Doonan and hang out with him and all of his Wacky Chicks! I wish he hosted a party and invited all the B.R.U.N.C.H. women he knows, in addition to me. That would be an evening, no, a weekend, no, an entire week to remember!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    This was not what I was expecting. What I thought was going to be an expose on strong independent women who are finding new ways to break through the infamous glass ceiling, turned out to be a talk-show style over the top feature about women portrayed as stereotypical privileged New Yorkers. If you do any outside research you'll find that many of the women Simon Doonan profiles have led fascinating, and often, glass-ceiling breaking lives, but his cliche interview style doesn't do these women ju This was not what I was expecting. What I thought was going to be an expose on strong independent women who are finding new ways to break through the infamous glass ceiling, turned out to be a talk-show style over the top feature about women portrayed as stereotypical privileged New Yorkers. If you do any outside research you'll find that many of the women Simon Doonan profiles have led fascinating, and often, glass-ceiling breaking lives, but his cliche interview style doesn't do these women justice. What you're left with is what you started with- a flamboyant out and proud man drooling over women who probably could care less if he adores the apron they're sporting during their interview. I wanted to like this book and it really wasn't all that bad, but while the intentions were good the execution was painfully annoying.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christine Whitney

    Perhaps no portrayal of wacky women can ever match Auntie Mame. The book is a bit of a disappointment. A short easy read, and yet I am having difficulty finishing the book. I have neither been drawn in by the discussion of the women nor all that entertained by the "wackiness" of the chicks. Perhaps it is my lack of knowledge of fashion icons from the 70s and 80s.... Perhaps it is my lassitude towards the "wackiness" of each woman as defined by their wardrobe... Perhaps it is that I too know and ha Perhaps no portrayal of wacky women can ever match Auntie Mame. The book is a bit of a disappointment. A short easy read, and yet I am having difficulty finishing the book. I have neither been drawn in by the discussion of the women nor all that entertained by the "wackiness" of the chicks. Perhaps it is my lack of knowledge of fashion icons from the 70s and 80s.... Perhaps it is my lassitude towards the "wackiness" of each woman as defined by their wardrobe... Perhaps it is that I too know and have known some incredibly wacky people.... Eventually I shall finish it, as I listlessly turn the pages on what has become my bedtime sleeper book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Myers

    This book is much more informative than the other, more humor-based books. Whatever! He's still hilarious in this one and this book proved he knows his ish and researches the crap out of his subjects. I'm so impressed with this fun, almost academic profile of 14 weird/creative/passionate ladies. Also, everyone that rated this book badly has the same complaint--"I thought a book about Wacky Chicks would have more people like me. :(" Sigh, some people. This book is much more informative than the other, more humor-based books. Whatever! He's still hilarious in this one and this book proved he knows his ish and researches the crap out of his subjects. I'm so impressed with this fun, almost academic profile of 14 weird/creative/passionate ladies. Also, everyone that rated this book badly has the same complaint--"I thought a book about Wacky Chicks would have more people like me. :(" Sigh, some people.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    The bright pink cover with the goofy 50s-esque she-spinx and it's subtitle sum up the book best: Life Lessons from the fearlessly inappropriate and fabulous eccentric women. The bright pink cover with the goofy 50s-esque she-spinx and it's subtitle sum up the book best: Life Lessons from the fearlessly inappropriate and fabulous eccentric women.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    I do not remember how this book arrived on my reading shelf....maybe I thought it would be funny & it would be light reading.......a little funny at times but I don't have the background information about most of the women the author considers "Wacky Chicks". I would agree, from the author's descriptions and tales of most the the "Wacky Chicks" that they are/were "Fearlessly Inappropriate and Eccentric Women."......now I can take it off my shelf and put it in my "donation box". p.s. The author do I do not remember how this book arrived on my reading shelf....maybe I thought it would be funny & it would be light reading.......a little funny at times but I don't have the background information about most of the women the author considers "Wacky Chicks". I would agree, from the author's descriptions and tales of most the the "Wacky Chicks" that they are/were "Fearlessly Inappropriate and Eccentric Women."......now I can take it off my shelf and put it in my "donation box". p.s. The author does have a quite extensive vocabulary. "Regardless of their personal style, wacky chicks are invariably blessed with a congenital, imposing physicality.....have what can only be described as Magnetic Presence." The Ladies Who Are Out to Lunch...or B.R.U.N.C.H....Belligerent, Resilient, Uninhibited, Naughty, Creative and Hilarious. Spider Fawke, Brigid Berlin, Sunny Chapman, Susanne Bartsch, Janet Charlton, Lisa Eisner, Pearl Harbour, Isabel Garrett, Amy Sedaris, Audrey "Golightly" Smalts, Jessica Porter, Kazuko, Mary Christmas. There is nothing so powerful as a self-help book whose time has come, and so it was the "Color Me Beautiful." Author Carole Jackson exploded onto best-seller lists in the early 1980's, mesmerizing the women of America. (I do remember this period when women "had their colors done". Women took it quite seriously.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alex Schwerdt

    Snooze. The author just irked me so much. He had WAY too many French terms in there that frustrated me because I felt like they weren't the common ones a lot of people should know. His focus was also a little on the weird end of whacky chicks I feel. I am a wild and crazy one, but I just could not get my head into this book the whole way through. Snooze. The author just irked me so much. He had WAY too many French terms in there that frustrated me because I felt like they weren't the common ones a lot of people should know. His focus was also a little on the weird end of whacky chicks I feel. I am a wild and crazy one, but I just could not get my head into this book the whole way through.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Not the advice I find very helpful.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Juan Miguel

    Hysterical stories.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    A very interesting, if sometimes over detailed account of some pretty extraordinary women. These ladies have one thing in common, they are all completely comfortable with being themselves, no matter what the rest of the world may expect. Author Simon Doonan creates a virtual glossary of terms to describe these women and their eccentricities. All wacky chicks must embody certain qualities that he spells out with the acronym B.R.U.N.C.H. They must be considered belligerent, resilient, uninhibited, A very interesting, if sometimes over detailed account of some pretty extraordinary women. These ladies have one thing in common, they are all completely comfortable with being themselves, no matter what the rest of the world may expect. Author Simon Doonan creates a virtual glossary of terms to describe these women and their eccentricities. All wacky chicks must embody certain qualities that he spells out with the acronym B.R.U.N.C.H. They must be considered belligerent, resilient, uninhibited, naughty, creative and hilarious. The real world women that he chronicles in this narrative definitely fit the bill. Most of the wacky chicks that are interviewed and discussed are older women who have a lifetime of experiences to draw from. He does touch on a new generation of wacky chicks which he calls "the wacky chicklettes". Some of the stories are crazier than others. This keeps you interested while some of the stories go on a little too long. If you plan on reading this it would be helpful to have a French to English dictionary near by for reference. Doonan peppers this work with many an international phrase. This can be seen as either annoying or tres amusant ...that's your choice. Regardless this book will definitely open your eyes to the bold and outrageous personalities that some women have and the wacky lives that they fearlessly choose to lead.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Thirstyicon

    Wow. I was going to rate this book 3 stars, but after glancing at the reviews (I know, never read the comments!), I went with 4. Clearly a number of people have no idea who Simon Doonan is (Google it, or read the About the Author section), nor do they know many of the Wacky Chicks he talks too. I would assume the latter is why he wanted to write the book. Frankly, I was disappointed how short the Amy Sedaris section was; because I LOVE her, and could read about her for days. One thing that stuck Wow. I was going to rate this book 3 stars, but after glancing at the reviews (I know, never read the comments!), I went with 4. Clearly a number of people have no idea who Simon Doonan is (Google it, or read the About the Author section), nor do they know many of the Wacky Chicks he talks too. I would assume the latter is why he wanted to write the book. Frankly, I was disappointed how short the Amy Sedaris section was; because I LOVE her, and could read about her for days. One thing that stuck out to me was how optimistic he was about the next generation of wacky chicks. Alas, I haven’t seen these young wacky women come out of the woodwork, and perhaps that is why he wrote Eccentric Glamour. It’s basically a guide to finding a style that may fit you, if you are tired of khakis and jeans. More importantly, I feel I should mention that I enjoyed “Nasty” and “Eccentric Glamour” more. I would recommend people read this before Eccentric Glamour, that way they might enjoy both a lot.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Judi

    This was, by far, one of the most disappointing books I have ever read! My husband and I were looking at this section in the library and both of us went to grab it at the same time; the pink caught both of our eyes. The title grabbed us right away and I swear we both said this book was about me as soon as I read "life lessons from fearlessly inappropriate and fabulously eccentric women." Honestly I have never heard of any of these women, and the fact that they were almost all clothing mongers or This was, by far, one of the most disappointing books I have ever read! My husband and I were looking at this section in the library and both of us went to grab it at the same time; the pink caught both of our eyes. The title grabbed us right away and I swear we both said this book was about me as soon as I read "life lessons from fearlessly inappropriate and fabulously eccentric women." Honestly I have never heard of any of these women, and the fact that they were almost all clothing mongers or some other artsy fartsy types, left the book very unrelateble. And much of the book felt over-the-top to me; though I will admit it might be because I am not familiar with his subjects. If he had picked Cher and then went overboard about her style of clothes, hair colors, etc. I would be able to sit with that and find hilarity in her choices or her wacky behavior. I even let a friend of mine take the book home overnight to read so that I felt I was being fair. The next morning, when she returned it, she said "I was expecting the women in this book to be more like you1" Ha!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pamster

    Okay maybe five stars. I cannot believe how much I enjoyed this crazyass book. A gift from Nina years ago, finally picked it up, and have spread out the reading for a month. Pretty much loved. Changing from 4 to 5 stars right this inst. Okay, there was just so much crazy shit in there. I don't care so much about the whole structure of "wacky chicks do this and that," it's more the specific women about whom he tells stories. Like Amy Sedaris obviously, but also tons of others I didn't know about. Okay maybe five stars. I cannot believe how much I enjoyed this crazyass book. A gift from Nina years ago, finally picked it up, and have spread out the reading for a month. Pretty much loved. Changing from 4 to 5 stars right this inst. Okay, there was just so much crazy shit in there. I don't care so much about the whole structure of "wacky chicks do this and that," it's more the specific women about whom he tells stories. Like Amy Sedaris obviously, but also tons of others I didn't know about. And they are mostly all older than me and awesome. A lot of this shit made me laugh really fucking hard. Okay, also, he tells about a game he & his bf play, called "soothing or annoying." You do something to the other person, the example was press the net part of a tennis racket against the end of their nose, and the object is for them to spend as long a time as possible calmly claiming that the annoying action is soothing. God. Love.

  14. 5 out of 5

    liz

    Wacky chicks are a burgeoning and highly entertaining phenomenon. Wacky chicks will change the world. Wacky chicks dare to annoy. Wacky chicks empower themselves and others without acting like blokes. Wacky chicks are having more fun than regular chicks and all men, except maybe gay men. Wacky chicks are disapproval-immune. Wacky chicks are like grown-up Eloises. Wacky chicks are belligernent, resilientm uninhibited, naughty, creative, and hilarious--i.e., wacky chicks are B.R.U.N.C.H. Being six Wacky chicks are a burgeoning and highly entertaining phenomenon. Wacky chicks will change the world. Wacky chicks dare to annoy. Wacky chicks empower themselves and others without acting like blokes. Wacky chicks are having more fun than regular chicks and all men, except maybe gay men. Wacky chicks are disapproval-immune. Wacky chicks are like grown-up Eloises. Wacky chicks are belligernent, resilientm uninhibited, naughty, creative, and hilarious--i.e., wacky chicks are B.R.U.N.C.H. Being six feet tall with a crazy/feminine wardrobe doesn't hurt either. On a side note, Doonan's descriptions of his mother (the original wacky chick) really made me want to read his book about his family.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    What is a Wacky Chick? The author, Simon Doonan, defines a Wacky Chick as a person who is BRUNCH: Belligerent, Resilient, Unhibited, Naughty, Creative, and Having Hilarity. Whoa, Doonan! Many of your Wacky Chicks are way past wacky and on their way to Psycho Chicks. You yourself note that there is a fine line between "functional wackiness and raging insanity." Well, most of your chicks have crossed over to the other side of the road.... (We'll not question why.) What is a Wacky Chick? The author, Simon Doonan, defines a Wacky Chick as a person who is BRUNCH: Belligerent, Resilient, Unhibited, Naughty, Creative, and Having Hilarity. Whoa, Doonan! Many of your Wacky Chicks are way past wacky and on their way to Psycho Chicks. You yourself note that there is a fine line between "functional wackiness and raging insanity." Well, most of your chicks have crossed over to the other side of the road.... (We'll not question why.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Loved this. I actually read this in ARC form, which may or may not have anything to do with its falling apart at the spine, its pages now billowed to the wind, somewhere. I am more interested in blaming its eventual disintegration as an inevitable result of having been read and re-read too many times. I would actually give it 4 1/2 stars, because some of the WCs (as Doonan calls them) were not entirely interesting to me, but each brought a different face to wackitude. I loved Doonan's ethologica Loved this. I actually read this in ARC form, which may or may not have anything to do with its falling apart at the spine, its pages now billowed to the wind, somewhere. I am more interested in blaming its eventual disintegration as an inevitable result of having been read and re-read too many times. I would actually give it 4 1/2 stars, because some of the WCs (as Doonan calls them) were not entirely interesting to me, but each brought a different face to wackitude. I loved Doonan's ethological appreciation for the species, including craftiness and an interest in entrepreneurship, as well as the dark side of wacky. It's all fantastic and a brilliantly unhelpful aspirational manual for life.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    I confess that my feelings about this book are biased due to it being a gift from a very inspiring and special woman. This book is a collection of mini-biographies of women who defy expectations and truly embrace who they are and what they wish to be regardless of social or familial pressures. It is a particularly inspiring read for anyone sitting a point in their life where they are embarking on something new and feel afraid or unsure of whether they will land on their feet. A perfect gift to a I confess that my feelings about this book are biased due to it being a gift from a very inspiring and special woman. This book is a collection of mini-biographies of women who defy expectations and truly embrace who they are and what they wish to be regardless of social or familial pressures. It is a particularly inspiring read for anyone sitting a point in their life where they are embarking on something new and feel afraid or unsure of whether they will land on their feet. A perfect gift to a woman graduating form high school or college, changing careers, or in a first time pregnancy. Every time I need a little reassurance or inspiration, I re-read this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    Fun and interesting and yes, inspirational book to read on vacation. Has me thinking about the "wacky chicks" I know - and wish I knew more of. I believe the founding mothers of our organizations like Women Helping Battered Women and HOPEworks (formerly the Women's Rape Crisis Center) were all "wacky chicks". There are a few younger women I would put in this category and envy - me, I have my moments, but obviously have work to do to become a member of the WC hall of fame. "Wacky chicks are belli Fun and interesting and yes, inspirational book to read on vacation. Has me thinking about the "wacky chicks" I know - and wish I knew more of. I believe the founding mothers of our organizations like Women Helping Battered Women and HOPEworks (formerly the Women's Rape Crisis Center) were all "wacky chicks". There are a few younger women I would put in this category and envy - me, I have my moments, but obviously have work to do to become a member of the WC hall of fame. "Wacky chicks are belligerent, resilient, uninhibited, naughty, creative, and hilarious - i.e. wacky chicks are B.R.U.N.C.H." Now I'm thinking what I can do and want to do to move into this fine club... - hmmmm

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brandy Spielman

    I gave this a three because I was torn, the quality of writing was a 4 but the content was a 2. Starting with the good, Simon Doonan has a fabulous voice as a writer. He's conversational while having the kind of vocabulary that makes me jealous. That being said, I struggled with valuing, let alone identifying with, his so-called "wacky chicks." Most seemed to be selfish weirdos who have accomplished little for the greater good other than simply being "interesting." I garnered few "life lessons" I gave this a three because I was torn, the quality of writing was a 4 but the content was a 2. Starting with the good, Simon Doonan has a fabulous voice as a writer. He's conversational while having the kind of vocabulary that makes me jealous. That being said, I struggled with valuing, let alone identifying with, his so-called "wacky chicks." Most seemed to be selfish weirdos who have accomplished little for the greater good other than simply being "interesting." I garnered few "life lessons" as the title promised, but I did add some arresting new words to my vocab.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan Baranoff

    Slow to start, not much better at the end, this British author tries to make a case for loving fringe element women who can at best be called odd. Some ate tragic, some are fun, I just kept hoping one of them would rise above and the.price of admission worth it. Fail. The second star is for effort. He does try in his name dropping way to remind us of the not so well known women behind the trends. Or maybe I'm just not hip enough to get it. Slow to start, not much better at the end, this British author tries to make a case for loving fringe element women who can at best be called odd. Some ate tragic, some are fun, I just kept hoping one of them would rise above and the.price of admission worth it. Fail. The second star is for effort. He does try in his name dropping way to remind us of the not so well known women behind the trends. Or maybe I'm just not hip enough to get it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kate Harvie

    This is a great collection, though somewhat uneven. The fabulous Doonan seems to have petered out in the last couple of chapters. Maybe he lacked the same passion for his subjects (he seems to love most the design/fashion/nighlife doyennes). Still, a great read, full of iconoclasts. He is a bangup writer.

  22. 5 out of 5

    shannon

    really i got it because the wait for "confessions of a window dresser" is so long at the library. terrible, embarrasing name and cover. but for the subthesis feminism has accomplished all it needs to because a handful of almost solely white chicks get to run around acting like auntie friggin mame, was an interesting enough read, i guess. really i got it because the wait for "confessions of a window dresser" is so long at the library. terrible, embarrasing name and cover. but for the subthesis feminism has accomplished all it needs to because a handful of almost solely white chicks get to run around acting like auntie friggin mame, was an interesting enough read, i guess.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    As a writer, Simon Doonan is very much like David Sedaris. If you love one, I bet you will love the other. Very witty, and hilarious, and I actually learned a few things from this book. Bravo to Doonan for writing this book, and giving these awesome eccentric women some of the glory that they deserve!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angela Trakas

    This is a fun book about eclectic women of style--the ones often ignored by the conforming standards of the highfashion world. Simon Doonan,creative director of Barneys NY and partner to design icon Johnathan Adler, pays tribute to the eccentricities and passions of women living life on their own stylish terms.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maurean

    hmmm...well, I guess I'm just not the "wacky chick" I thought I was, nor did I enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. Bits were interesting, I admit, but not as much as I had expected. Maybe its the 'British thing' I don't get...maybe its just me! Anyway, thanks for sharing it, just the same...hopefully the next reader will be wackier than I!! hmmm...well, I guess I'm just not the "wacky chick" I thought I was, nor did I enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. Bits were interesting, I admit, but not as much as I had expected. Maybe its the 'British thing' I don't get...maybe its just me! Anyway, thanks for sharing it, just the same...hopefully the next reader will be wackier than I!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Enjoyed it, and the subject matter, too - real wacky chicks - independent, enthusiastic women who march to the beat of a different, each individual, drummer - he has known and loved. Inspirational, too - makes me want to let my own wacky chick shine! Not as hilarious as his "Nasty", but a very good read none-the-less. Enjoyed it, and the subject matter, too - real wacky chicks - independent, enthusiastic women who march to the beat of a different, each individual, drummer - he has known and loved. Inspirational, too - makes me want to let my own wacky chick shine! Not as hilarious as his "Nasty", but a very good read none-the-less.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sascha

    This book is the best self help not self help book ever! Simon Doonan is one of the greatest wits of our time. I would even go so far as to call him the Oscar Wilde of our time. I adore him, I read his column religiously and this book made me laugh it made and it made me cry it changed my view on life. Love it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was my first introduction to Doonan's writing- picked it up on a whim (LOVED the cover!) at the airport while I awaited my flight that I took when I moved to Japan. I'm so glad that I brought this with me- I'm not for "inspirational" books, but this was so damn downright hilarious that it inspired admiration for all of those fabulous women who grace these pages. This was my first introduction to Doonan's writing- picked it up on a whim (LOVED the cover!) at the airport while I awaited my flight that I took when I moved to Japan. I'm so glad that I brought this with me- I'm not for "inspirational" books, but this was so damn downright hilarious that it inspired admiration for all of those fabulous women who grace these pages.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Becca Stokes

    Look, I'm not one to bandy about phrases like "girl power"...much less "grrl power" - but this book is a must for any lady who is on the verge of losing her power - never surrender! Embrace your wackiness! Look, I'm not one to bandy about phrases like "girl power"...much less "grrl power" - but this book is a must for any lady who is on the verge of losing her power - never surrender! Embrace your wackiness!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    I found this book far more depressing than inspiring. I'm not entirely sure why. And, interestingly, I ran into Mr. Doonan on the street the other day outside of Barney's. Kinda cool. I think he was a little surprised that I recognized him. I found this book far more depressing than inspiring. I'm not entirely sure why. And, interestingly, I ran into Mr. Doonan on the street the other day outside of Barney's. Kinda cool. I think he was a little surprised that I recognized him.

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