From Publishers Weekly
Blogger Mulgrew, an Irish Catholic son of working-class South Philly, grew up in the early 1980s. In his irreverent, self-deprecating, but frequently funny first book, based on his blog, he revisits his childhood and adolescence. Following in the footsteps of his storytelling father, who hung out with other guys in dive bars, the author encountered (and makes somewhat cursory use of) characters like the local kleptomaniac, a neighbor's teenaged uncle, who expanded on lessons in hustling previously laid down by a numbers-running grandfather, and the friend who launched further escapades in both entrepreneurship and juvenile pyromania. Mulgrew doesn't dwell sentimentally on his parents' rocky relationship, and in comparison to the seemingly endless run of adventures in ersatz jock-and-studhood, there's relatively little about his mother or his siblings. Instead, the book takes readers deep into a traditional, working-class social world where sports, Jackass
-type pranks, and loyalty reigned. True to the lad-lit form and content, the narrative is often downright crude, with a Maxim
-article tone. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Mulgrew’s loose collection of 1980s and ’90s childhood anecdotes and mining of familial dysfunction (designed to “throw my family under the bus so that I can buy a high-def TV and force them to cut off contact with me for the rest of my life”) clearly subscribes to the Sedaris school of memoir writing. The stories range from his youthful coming to terms with the inadequacy of his penis to an ode to late-night drunken hooker spotting, but the most memorable character turns out to be his hard-drinking, quasi-criminal father. Mostly, though, the book functions as a collection of chapter-length bar yarns—the kind that come out when only the hardiest of livers are left—with little attention paid to continuity or organization and a lot to nailing self-deprecatory zingers, which come in two flavors: booze (too much) and sex (not enough). Mulgrew, a popular blogger, is a tremendously entertaining and affable writer as long as you’re not expecting anything revelatory and don’t mind wallowing with him in his shamelessly, cheerfully puerile tendencies. --Ian Chipman