Juggalo Country By Craven Rock, 223 pgs.

I have made my share of jokes about Juggalos, the fans of the rap duo, Insane Clown Posse, and their associated horrorcore rap acts. I don’t understand why so much of Juggalo style seems trapped in the ’90s and their devotion to such a mediocre talented crew seems to border on cult-like. That said, I can’t help but see similarities between their subculture and that of punk.

So does our very own Razorcake contributor Craven Rock. His deep dive into the Juggalo community was first published in 2013; this is the second edition. Craven has a fascination with the Juggalos to the point where he went to their annual festival, the Gathering of the Juggalos, in 2010. That year the fest was held in rural Southern Illinois, with 20,000 attendees. (He attended the fest with his friend, Damon Thompson, whose illustrations fill the book.) It’s somewhat akin to a county fair, with food vendors and rides, but it is primarily attended because of the many acts performing, almost exclusively comprised of those on Psychopathic Records, the label that ICP runs. Oh, and Ron Jeremy, the porn actor, was there, too, as was right-wing Playboy model, Tila Tequila.

Once there, the two of them observe and indulge in the community. They spend a lot of their time at the drug bridge, which is what it sounds like: a bridge where one can buy all kinds of drugs. Alternately, you can also exchange other goods or services for them, too. Much time is spent at Hepatitis Lake, a small, artificially-made body of water that helps to cool off attendees. This is especially key as the week the Gathering was held, the heat index was well over a hundred degrees.

Craven’s book does a good job of giving the uninitiated an understanding of the background of ICP and the Juggalo community. Interspersed with stories of his experiences at the Gathering are explanations of Juggalos’ dress, why they act like they do, some of their terminology, and their spiritual beliefs. Although some of it can be stilted at times, none of it is written in as dry of a manner as I make it sound.

While I appreciate Craven’s first-hand, deep dive, I felt there were some additional steps he could’ve taken to add more to the book. Primarily, I would’ve liked to see him get more interactions with attendees as well as some of the performers. It seems as though it might’ve been possible had it not been so hot and had Craven not been so drunk or high for all the fest. That’s the hazards of the job, I guess. Still, for what it’s worth, I sat down to read this one night thinking I would read a few pages and go to bed early, but instead stayed up past my bedtime and read the whole thing. A fascinating, intriguing read. –Kurt Morris (Microcosm, 2752 N. Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227)