memoir, personal essay, nonfiction


Inspired by the work of writers Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe and motivated by celebrity prevaricator James Frey, Journey to the Scars: A White Trash Epic is a memoir that attempts to redefine the genre by applying the ideals and themes of gonzo and new journalism. The opening chapter, "The Diary of John Doe Frankenstein" tells the story of a pivotal event in the author's life. Immediately following this narrative of a near fatal motorcycle accident, the author/narrator's reliability is called into question and the remainder of the memoir is the story of the author's efforts to uncover the truth about himself, and more importantly, the events and motivating forces that led to the author's almost Near Death Experience. Starting with a nonjudgmental look at the life of his parents before he was born, our unreliable narrator/author hopes to improve the reader's opinion of himself while also uncovering the true stories behind all the fictional ones he's been telling himself and others his entire life. As he learns more about where he came from, he begins to try to understand why he has made some of the decisions in his own life. Life is one long party for James Patrick Makowski and he shares his experiences not as a victim of his choices, but as a lonely man who just doesn't want to be left off of any of Life's guest lists. In a final attempt to improve his credibility with the reader, the author retells the story of his accident with as much focus on factual detail and verifiable events as possible. His select poems reveal his attempts at emotional honesty while appending documentation is included for the purposes of veracity. Treating himself as a hostile witness, the narrator/author goes on to share the development of his literary integrity when he meets the most honest person he has ever met--the drug dealing Dog. "Tales of the Dog" summarizes the author/narrator's attempts to improve his credibility and why this quest has been so important to him. Journey to the Scars: A White Trash Epic is the gonzo story of one man's efforts to be his own messiah. The author/narrator, after realizing that his life to date has been in large part the result of his efforts to forget his past, J Patrick Rader begins his efforts to remember his.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date





Hemschemeyer, Judith


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program

Creative Writing








Release Date

April 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)