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Burning Down George Orwell's House
Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Robert Stone describes Burning Down George Orwell's House as a "… most enjoyable, a witty, original turn … one part black comedy and one part a meditation on modern life. It is well-written and truly original." Learn more about the author, Andrew Ervin
Tucker Max's first book, I HOPE THEY SERVE BEER IN HELL, is a #1 NY Times Best Seller and has spent over 150 weeks on that list over five calendar years. There are currently over 1.5 million copies sold. Max co-wrote and produced the movie based on his book, also titled "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell." He has been credited as the originator and leader of the literary genre, "fratire," and was nominated to Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential List in 2009.
Tucker Max received his BA with highest honors from the University of Chicago in 1998. He attended Duke Law School on an academic scholarship, where he graduated with a JD in 2001 (despite the fact that he neglected to buy any of his textbooks for his final two years and spent part of one semester-while still enrolled in classes-living in Cancun). He currently lives in Austin, Texas, and can be reached through is website, TuckerMax.com.
A raunchy egomaniac and his offensive, shameless stories. Wow. It's like bungee-jumping into the middle of the mosh pit at a fraternity grain party. I'm one of those girls who liked the Tucker book. Well, actually this is sort of a mixed review. The first story I read was the Tucker tries(...). I nearly peed myself it was so funny. For shock value and out of control laughs, you could stop after that story and be satisfied. The next story I read was pretty funny. The next brought a few chuckles, and by the fifth I was getting bored. Vomit and poopy pants is only shocking and funny once; not a dozen stories in a row. It seems pretty obvious that he decided early on to "never let the truth get in the way of a good story". However, once you get over that literary hurdle of discovery, there are some really funny parts.
Don't get me wrong, if you like comedy and can overcome the frat-i-tude its worth reading a few of the stories. For the price of 2 drinks, there are few things to read for such out of control laughs right out of the gate. I don't mean to knock Tucker, not that he'd care. I assumed by the content, writing and vocabulary this was written by a college freshman. When I later learned he's a 30ish attorney, I was shocked. Hopefully his next book he'll sharpen his pencil and delve a tad deeper into the memoir craft.
For readers, I hope this tip helps. (It sure would have helped me). I recommend taking this book in small doses. Limit yourself to reading one story every few days, and you'll love it. As for Tucker fans who are getting bored waiting for his sequel, there's another hilarious book right up this alley that takes it a whole notch higher.
People hate this book for a lot of reasons. It is not well-written, for one thing. There are numerous grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, as well as missing words. Tucker is also not a particularly unique narrator or character. People have enjoyed watching obnoxious jerks wreck havoc since the days of Aristophanes on down to the cast of Seinfeld, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or The League. The problem is that the folks in those sitcoms are arguably way funnier than Tucker Max ever is, most likely because they have talented writers working behind them.
And therein lies the rift between those who love Tucker and those who don't: the humor.
Tucker Max has one joke -- "Look how rude/drunk/sexist I am! CAPITAL LETTERS MEAN I'M YELLING!" -- and the formula does not vary. If you happen to like Tucker's one joke, I can understand you enjoying part of the book, but the joke is told over and over, and without much panache or wit. Some of what he considers funny is actually baffling to me, since it sounds so obviously puerile and childish. Tucker Max still thinks it's hilarious to call people "nerds," makes fun of his buddy for having a black best friend, and attacks fat people who happen to be walking by. "If this were Lord of the Flies, you'd be dead already," he says to a "kinda fat" guy. Ha ha! Because he's fat, you see. That "joke" contains the essence of every other joke Max has to say: obviousness, stupidity, and a lack of originality.
I borrowed this book on a deployment when reading material was very scarce. I read a little over half of it before I grew bored. Every story is basically the same. Some guy gets drunk, has sex and does something humiliating or a variation of that formula. The writing is mediocre at best and lacks any memorable prose. However I think the most irritating part about this book is that the author claims all the stories are true. They are not. Some may be but most are not. Of the 6 stories/chapters I read, 4 stories I had heard before in the early to mid 90s either in college or in the army. They are Frat/Army/Young male urban legends. They always start something like My brother was telling me about this guy in his frat who "Insert drinking/sex/humiliation story here". There is nothing wrong with these stories. I have told a few of them myself. However the main draw of this book seems to be that the stories are true. When they are obviously fiction or at least exaggerations it detracts from the book and makes it sort of silly.
Tucker Max admits he's a jerk but he somehow thinks recounting endless vomiting sessions, discussing the many times he's acted like a shallow, abusive pig, and relaying the details of his bodily fluid excretions is worth a book. There are a few funny bits _ the Breathalyzer one at the beginning comes to mind _ but it all gets tedious really fast. It's frat-boy trash humor by a pampered kid who thinks he's being cute or profound, or something. You want to grab this idiot by the throat, shake him and say: "Grow up and care about someone else!" That said, maybe the book goes down better after a few shots of Jaegermeister. Better yet, save your money for the booze.