Molly Young at the NYT:
What you get from John Waters is crotch punching, exploding televisions, geysers of blood, deviants, wackos and reprobates. You get phrases like “ridiculous genital display” and “penis probation”; scatology, tickle fetishes and satanic babies. You get teeming panoramas of freaks in thrall to their own depravity. (Another painter comes to mind: Hieronymus Bosch.)
Hyperbole is this writer’s native tongue. A man doesn’t get aroused; sexual adrenaline surges through his loins “like a tsunami wave ripping through a small Japanese village.” A woman doesn’t give birth; she endures a “saga of labor lunacy.” Waters writes toward the funny bone and the gag reflex. He is not at the mercy of political correctness or good taste or spelling conventions. Like any true weirdo, he seems to consider himself normal. When you read a book like this, you’re wandering into a maze of anarchy that is fully legible only to its creator.