Book Review: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max (2/5)

14 Jan

I surprised myself that I read this book so please don’t be too floored yourself. My husbands old roommate was reading this when I was over one day and he was laughing so uncontrollably I thought he’d need me to change his emergency diaper. Of course, I added it to my To-Read list out of curiosity. The library didn’t have a copy, so I asked for it for Christmas. Mom felt it would be inappropriate for anyone except my brother to buy it for me, so that’s what I got from him. I’m usually pretty disciplined about reading books in the order they appear on my To-Read list but I was too curious and jumped in. I finished most of it in a weekend.

This book is my North Carolina book for my Where Are You Reading? Challenge. You can argue with me on setting if you’d like, but Duke seemed to be a common location in his stories.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max

Tucker is a self-proclaimed ass hole and a me-proclaimed alcoholic and womanizer. This book is a collection of his blog posts and the book was turned into a film. (I don’t intend to see it.) Max’s stories cover his drunken escapades including run-ins with police, being kicked out of bars, and lots of women. Many of his stories take place during his time at Duke Law School and the years after he graduated when he decided to pursue writing. Most of the stories involve copious amounts of alcohol, crowded bars, and morally loose women.

I tried to keep most of that summary judgement free, but this book really upset me. I knew what it was about going into it, but I found myself frustrated with my own gender more often than not reading this book. I’m amazed how he can find women who throw themselves at a guy who they know will treat them terribly. I know a few women like this, but that so many exist in this country and that Max can find them so easily really angered me. He was never doing something a woman asked him not to do so its hard to fault Max. I can only fault the women of this book. Well, I can fault him a little for deciding to act like he does, but more the women.

As much as I left this book thinking “Tucker Max is a worthless human being,” he had a few good nuggets of advice. The best was that men will treat women the way they allow themselves to be treated. If a woman demands respect, the man will either respect her or not deal with her. It’s pretty straight forward. I think this is very true. If you’ll let a guy walk all over you and still text him? It’s giving him the green light to do that again. Tucker admitted that before law school, he would lead women on, saying he wanted a relationship when he was only interested in a quick hook-up. At least he realized that was wrong. As long as the girls know what they’re getting into and know he’s not going to change his ways, there’s no harm (in my opinion).

After my friend read this book, he said it made him want to join a fraternity. I was confused when I reflected on this after finishing it because Max was never in a fraternity. There are scenes from the end of the book where he uses fraternity houses as book signing locations, but he was never a member of the fraternities in question. It upset me that this is considered the ‘frat guy life style.’ I have a lot of friends who were in fraternities who never acted like this. I also know guys who weren’t in fraternities who did act like this. I guess what upset me is that this is a desirable lifestyle for people. It was a very judgemental book where Tucker and his friends would make a decision about a girl within seconds of seeing her. That lifestyle can be very destructive if someone doesn’t have the self-control to stop when he needs to for a job, money, family, etc. Also, I’m surprised that Tucker doesn’t have every STD under the sun. One of the girls he’s with says the same thing. I also don’t understand how someone who admits he’s focused on his health as far as food and fitness are concerned would fill his body with so much alcohol and leave himself susceptible to diseases. For God’s sake, just put a condom on! I read on another book blog that he’s gone to counseling and started to turn his life around. I’m wondering if he ran out of beer, women, or money first. I’m guessing money.

I read another blog-turned-book early last year, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson which I loved. I was hoping this book would be a little more like that one. Lawson’s book took you through her life and the funny/strange things that happened to her growing up in rural Texas. I liked the chronology of the book and they way it shows her change and overcome some of her social phobias. Max’s book was much more disorganized. the stories were out of chronological order, were not organized by themes, and had characters that would disappear and reappear without notice. I know blogs are a different animal than a novel, but Max seemed to ignore the liberty to rearrange things for the print version.

Writer’s Takeaway: No matter how much I disliked Max, he entertained me. I read most of the book in three days and laughed the whole time. I was disgusted by the end, but my abs hurt out of enjoyment. I’ve read that Max was the first self-published author to make the New York Times Bestsellers list and I’m not surprised. I think a lot of the sales were shock sales, much like Fifty Shades of Grey. I have to say, good for him.

So what does this teach us as writers? Being different, as in shockingly different and on some levels offensive, can work to your advantage. It’s the same as being memorable and apparently it sells well.

I didn’t like that the timeline was so out of whack and there wasn’t any sort of growth or even consistent reoccurring characters. It felt unorganized to me.

I wouldn’t recommend this book, but I’d gladly engage in discussion with someone who’d read it. Two out of five stars.

Until next time, write on.

Related Articles:
Book Review: Tucker Max Book Series| The Nerd Nexus
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, or how Tucker Max saved me rather too late|Be my muse
I’m a feminist and I like Tucker Max|Escapist

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