About the Book

“Achingly funny!”
T: The New York Times Style Magazine


Davy Rothbart is looking for love in all the wrong places. Constantly. He falls helplessly in love with pretty much every girl he meets—and rarely is the feeling reciprocated. Time after time, he hops in a car and tears across half of America with his heart on his sleeve. He’s continually coming up with outrageous schemes, which he always manages to pull off. Well, almost always. But even when things don’t work out, Rothbart finds meaning and humor in every moment. Whether it’s confronting a scammer who takes money from aspiring writers, sifting through a murder case that’s left a potentially innocent friend in prison, or waking up naked on a park bench in New York City, nothing and no one is off limits.

But as much as Rothbart is a tragically lovable, irresistibly brokenhearted hero, it’s his funny, insightful storytelling that’s the star of the book. He is a true original, with a spirit of adventure and a literary voice all his own—“an intriguing hybrid of timeless midwestern warmth and newfangled jive talk,” in the words of Sarah Vowell. Each essay in My Heart Is An Idiot shows how things that are seemingly so wrong can be so, so right.

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My Heart Is An Idiot consists of 16 personal essays by Davy Rothbart, ranging in length from 4 to 40 pages.

Bigger and Deafer

Cruel but affectionate tricks Davy and his brothers played on their deaf mom.

Human Snowball

On Valentine’s Day, Davy takes a Greyhound bus to Buffalo, New York to surprise a girl he has been dating for just a few weeks, and his arrival in town leads to a series of unexpected adventures involving a car thief and a 110-year-old man.

What Are You Wearing?

After an odd phone-sex relationship builds in intimacy, Davy flies to Austin, Texas to meet the stranger on the other end of the line.

The 8th of November

The story of Davy’s enduring friendship with a charismatic yet troubled Vietnam Vet named Jim Thompson.

Ninety-nine Bottles of Pee on the Wall

Heartbroken after being dumped, and laid up from an accident, Davy pours his energies into stalking a scam artist who’s been bilking aspiring writers through a series of shady contests.

How I Got These Boots

On his way to the Grand Canyon, Davy picks up an inspiring hitchhiker.


A road trip through Arizona and New Mexico with a girl Davy has fallen in love with over the phone turns out to be a collision between fantasy and reality.

Nibble, Lick, Suck, and Feast

Hijinks on local TV morning shows over the course of a 136-city tour.

Canada or Bust

A long night’s drive from L.A. to San Francisco with the St. Pauli girl and a street kid named Hakim.

Naked in New York

Waking up on a park bench in lower Manhattan, in the nude.


A one-night stand with an old childhood friend leads to a grisly discovery.


Taking a shot at love at 36,000 feet.

New York, New York

A three-day odyssey aboard a Greyhound bus, traveling from Chicago to New York City in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001.


A teenage beer pong game devolves in forbidden love.

The Strongest Man in the World

The story of Davy’s friendship with Byron Case, who’s serving a life sentence in a Missouri prison for a murder he may not have committed.

Ain’t That America?

After running out of gas in the California desert, Davy hitches a ride with a former Marine and his gun-toting family.

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About Davy

Davy Rothbart is the creator of Found Magazine, a frequent contributor to public radio’s This American Life, and author of the story collection The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas. He writes regularly for GQ and Grantland, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Believer. He’s the founder of Washington II Washington, an annual hiking trip for inner-city kids, and is also the co-director of the documentary film Medora, to be released in 2013. He splits his time between Los Angeles, California and his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan.