Internet celebrity/entrepreneur Tucker Max shares some qualities with political consultant Robert Shrum. Both are self-employed memoirists who like to name things after themselves. But where Shrum was an advisor and speechwriter for world leaders, Max just wants to get drunk and screw. Which one has committed the greater crime against humanity is an open question.
In 2002, Max posted a casually snide dating application on his website. To his surprise, women actually applied to date him, so he began posting stories from his debauched life as well. His site became popular enough to spawn an upcoming film adaptation and the 2006 New York Times bestseller I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, which is being reissued with new material.
Max's tales are arranged in chronological order, with notes explaining when Max wrote it all down. Most of the stories are variations on a theme—get drunk, find a woman, vomit, black out, awaken in a strange place, lather, rinse, repeat. Though Max isn't in the league of great storytellers who can make even mundane events entertaining, his prose is spare and usually witty. (He attended Duke Law School on scholarship, so he's no moron.) His eye for detail is limited to what interests him—what he was drinking, a woman's breast size, and which friends were there. (They're identified by funnier-if-you-know-them nicknames like El Bingeroso and Credit.) It's when Max actually goes somewhere, becoming a kind of frat-boy gonzo journalist, that the book inches close to National Lampoon's Vacation instead of hovering above Van Wilder. A trip to Midland, Texas is particularly well described; Max is even respectful of the locals, describing them as not stupid, just "country." And a night out at a gay bar is refreshingly low on homophobia.
Max is much less respectful of "idiots and poseurs" (wine-drinkers and anyone who dislikes him) and also most women, whom he says he only treats like hos if they deserve it. The logic is flawed, and yet it's difficult to feel sympathy for a woman who contacts Max via his website and asks him to urinate on her after sex. Parts of the book were probably funnier when they appeared online, and may play better onscreen. The new material, mostly from Max's 2006 book tour, is repetitive and meant for hardcore fans. Max may be destroying his liver and the egos of many insecure women, but as long as he stays out of politics, his damage to the rest of the world will be limited to anyone who tries to emulate his bad behavior.