PETE JORDAN

Book Cover Image

Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States (2007) — a memoir about the more than ten years Jordan spent as an itinerant dishwasherwas Pete's first book.

A couple of newspaper articles about Pete/Dishwasher::
New York Times
Chicago Tribune

In the 1990's, when Jordan was invited to appear on the David Letterman show, he wished not to be on the program. In his place though, Pete covertly sent his friend Jess to the show as a "stand in" for him.
Watch the fake "Dishwasher Pete" on Letterman

When the Dishwasher book was published, Pete appeared as himself on the Letterman show.
Watch the real  "Dishwasher Pete" on Letterman


Praise for DISHWASHER by Pete Jordan

“Very, very entertaining. . .fascinating.” –David Letterman

“You HAVE to read Pete Jordan’s Dishwasher. I consider Dishwasher Pete to be a genius—not only because he took the job of dishwashing and raised it to a Religious Calling, but also because his writing made me laugh out loud.” –Tom Hanks

“This is a story of youth (desperate to avoid experience), of work, and of the mad vastness of America, as compelling to my mind as Jack Kerouac’s On The Road.” –Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of It All

“It’s well-written and funny and evocative.” Ira Glass (on Dishwasher zine)

Dishwasher is an instant American classic. It should be required reading for every high school student in the nation, paired with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Jordan. . .serves up one of the most entertaining memoirs to appear in quite a while. . . . The book’s exploration of the dishwashing subculture is fascinating…and the an engaging and lighthearted storyteller.” Booklist (starred review)

“Exceedingly well-written and explores an American subculture. . .with real tact and feeling and humor.” –Dwight Garner, senior editor of the New York Times Book Review

“Highly entertaining.” The Oregonian [Portland]

“Enjoyable manifesto celebrating rootless irresponsibility, with rueful acknowledgment of the pitfalls therein.” Kirkus Reviews

“Probably in spite of, and not courtesy of, its irresponsible narrator, Dishwasher is almost compulsively readable.” –Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review

“[Jordan] is. . .the definition of an individual. If you liked reading the zine (and who wouldn’t?) you’ll be glad you picked up a copy of the book. And to those who haven’t heard of Dishwasher Pete, it’s about time you meet him. . . . An honest and fun account of a strange period in the life of a living oxymoron: a hard-working slacker.” –Bookslut

“Dishwasher Pete has finally written a memoir. If you’re already a fan of his work, you really need read no further. Go…buy the book. It’s great. You’ll love it. . . . [M]ostly, Dishwasher is the story of 10 fascinating years in the life of a man obsessed—what more could you ask for in an autobiography?” Willamette Week

“Full of colorful characters and kitchen antics, the book will have you drawing stares on the bus as you laugh out loud.” –Associated Press

“Jordan’s new book, Dishwasher, is not just a celebration of his triumph, and it’s not just a collection of zine excerpts. It’s the back story, the long shot, and the companion to his other writings, and it’s just as funny, just as proudly lazy, and just as inspiring as those photocopied pamphlets so many of us hoard.” SF Weekly

“An excellent book. Dishwasher Pete. . .[has] an enticing informality, an indie ethic not immune to humour and a sense of low-budget adventure.” London Review of Books blog

“In honor of all those summer jobs you battled through back in the day, wrap your water-wrinkled fingers around a copy of Dishwasher.” Boston Phoenix

“Sprinkled with fascinating dish-washing history. . .Dishwasher’s appeal is in Jordan’s triumph, proving that following your heart—even into a sink full of scalding water—isn’t such a bad idea.” Penthouse

“Jordan writes like your buddy who gets a couple beers in him and can’t be silenced. You keep the suds coming, ‘cause it’s just that funny.” Philadelphia City Paper

“Rollicking.” Portland Mercury

“[An] amusing memoir.” People magazine [3½ out of 4 stars]

“A humorous page-turner.” –

“A charming read.” Amsterdam Times

“A slacker’s idyll.” New York Times

“Thoroughly entertaining. . . . Riotously funny.” Philadelphia Inquirer

“A good story, well told. . .ironic. . .worth reading.” San Francisco Chronicle

“A (casual) rallying cry for those disinclined toward the nine-to-five.”Chicago Reader

“Twainishly irreverent.” East Bay Express

“One of the most appealing, readable, and unique books on modern labor to come out in years…. Dishwasher is a fun read.” Industrial Worker

“This memoir has it all—humor, insight, pathos, adventure, travel and piles of dirty dishes.” Sacramento Bee

“Jordan takes readers to the heart of the kitchen, a place known as the dish pit.” –Michele Norris, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered”

“Trenchant wit and felicitous style. . . . Warmly recommended.” Library Journal

“Jordan has an eye for devastating detail, but he wraps what he sees in humor. No matter how grim his situation, the reader senses he couldn’t wait to write it down, check the place off his map and keep going.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“An astute observer of human behavior, [Jordan] snarkily recounts how kitchen condescension is omnipresent at summer camps, casinos, fast food joints, fish canneries and college cafeterias.” Boston Herald

“What’s best about the book. . .is that despite Mr. Jordan’s hardened exterior as a tough-guy slacker, he approaches his experiences with a delicate sensitivity toward the people he meets along the way.” New York Sun

“Pete Jordan’s Dishwasher book and blog [sic] developed a cult following.” Time magazine

“His zine Dishwasher was a cult phenomenon, and Dishwasher Pete himself a folk hero.” Pittsburgh City Paper

“It’s true that everyone has a story; some people’s are just more interesting than others. Such is the case with Pete Jordan.” –Chicagoist

“Some men are born great. Others find greatness in a soapy sink.” Philadelphia Weekly

“It’s a collection of engaging vignettes, sometimes insightful but always entertaining. . . . And the stories are well worth reading.” Hawaii Island Journal

“A fun graduation gift for your favorite smart aleck.” Charlotte Observer

Dishwasher is a rewarding journey to take, full of restaurant realism and quirky kitchens, and glimpses of America seen from the margins—a country as weird and surprising as anyone could ask for.” Sacramento News & Review

“A fun read that might help you relate a little bit better with your dish room crew.”  Restaurant Hospitality

“There is no pretended energy, no cliché, no veil that tries to fold any added romance into the story. It is Pete’s crisp intelligence that turns an absolutely boring job into a source of wonder. Imagine the most impossibly dull moments of life, turned into squeaky-clean, sparkling things. That’s what Jordan does as we turn the pages of his book, and that is how his readers fall in love with him.” Anarcho-Syndicalist Review

“The writing is lucid and earnest, and Jordan’s passion for dishwashing and, even more so, for blowing-in-the-wind traveling, is infectious. As his quest extends from one year to the next, and he questions the worthiness of his goal to ‘bust suds’ in all 50 states, he demonstrates an ability to convey his deepest fears without losing the upbeat, fun tone that pervades the entire memoir.” Publishers Weekly

“An interesting if not unforgettable read.” Virginian-Pilot [Norfolk VA]

“A fun and engaging book.” Daily Reporter-Herald [Loveland CO]

“A colorful, offbeat memoir.” Times Union [Albany NY]

“Sublime” Free Lance-Star [Fredericksburg VA]

“Filled with self-discovery, adventure, zany characters and enough laughs for 10 books.” Charleston Gazette