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.
So why have his books sold so well? Tucker's obnoxious and mean, and because he gets away with it, he pleases readers a) who wish they could also be obnoxious and mean (and probably also as sexually successful as Max allegedly is), b) who enjoy watching others be obnoxious and mean for no good reason, and c) who are also obnoxious and mean. If you enjoyed Tucker Max's stories or books, it is for one of these three reasons: envy, misanthropy, or douchebaggery. (If you can claim to like these stories on any other level, I'd like to hear your excuse. And I mean "like" the stories, not find them interesting on a sociological, psychological, or other level.)
If -- and it's a big IF -- If Tucker Max's abuse was even marginally intelligent or unique, there might be something to recommend it. Unfortunately, the majority of his insults are either cribbed from other sources (everything from The Simpsons to Winston Churchill) or just sloppy and lazy (e.g. he says a fat girl is suffering from hoof-and-mouth disease, because she's fat like a cow, you see). The book reads like the soulless struggle of a wanna-be stand-up comedian who has never bothered to write good material because he is surrounded by friends who both encourage and endure his watered down "witticisms." At one point in his most recent book (Sloppy Seconds), a friend called SippyCup is insulting a fat girl because he doesn't like fat girls. Inexplicably, Tucker Max acts as if this behavior is uncalled for, and even types, "Funny requires intelligence and mental dexterity: it's not about hurting the person..." However, the only "mental dexterity" that Max shows is the cognitive dissonance needed to say things like this without realizing how deeply contradictory he's being.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Max finally admits that "if you read between the lines a little bit, in between all the bravado, you can see a lot of self-loathing." You don't have to read between the lines at all, though. In the same book -- without a trace of irony -- he complains about "tools" and "obnoxious jerks," describing them in the exact same words he uses elsewhere to describe himself. He yells at people for doing the very things he does, and then excuses his behavior by claiming that he's "smarter" or "wittier," when ultimately he's just louder and less caring. He tries everything in his power to get under people's skin (in more ways than one), and when he is called on his antisocial behavior or rebuffed, his go-to line is "F*** 'em if they can't take a joke."
The joke, however, is on Tucker Max. And the fact that he is only just now realizing this (as he says in the Forbes interview) shows you even further that these books were not a way to lampoon himself or a world that celebrates narcissistic violence. They are stories that, in their own vicious, repetitive, and mindless way, represent an ignorant co-mingling of self-love and -hate. Even if you like that sort of thing, there are much smarter and better-written books out there that deal with it, ones that are aware of their own irony and that have something better to prove than their own vomit-drenched version of nihilism.
In case you absolutely must know what Tucker Max's stories are like, I have created here a handy Build-A-Story to help you write your own. Have fun.
Roll a Dice: In your story you are (1,2) drunk and rude, (3,4) rude and sexed up, (5,6) drunk and rude and sexed up.
Roll Again: Your story takes place (1,2) in a public place around mostly strangers (e.g. a Muslim wedding is wacky!), (3,4) in a public place around mostly friends (e.g. a Vegas bar), (5,6) in a private place with friends and/or a misguided lover.
Roll Again: (1) You make fun of a fat person. (2) You make fun of a "nerd" (whatever that is). (3) You make fun of a slut. (4) You make fun of a person's culture or implied heritage. (5) You make fun of a weak or frightened person. (6) You speak IN CAPITAL LETTERS. [If you are unaccustomed to making fun of people, do not attempt any baroque comparisons. Stick with the basics, i.e., ask a fat person if they have "freed Willy" yet, or tell a nerd to suck on your "Monty Python."]
Roll Again: (1,2) You puke/pass out. (3,4) You have sex/get into a fight. (5,6) You have sex/get into a fight, and then puke/pass out.
Sample Story: (dice=3) Interested readers, let me tell you this awesome story about how rude I was to this girl that still slept with me. (dice=2) I was hanging out at the Chuck E. Cheese ball pen and had no idea how I got there. "I wish I was drunk," I thought. (dice=5) A scared seven year-old girl asked me to please leave the ball pen, and I told her that there was no god. She cried and ran off, and I suddenly realized there WAS a god: me! (dice=4) That's when I grabbed a waitress with a pizza and said, "Guess what my favorite topping is? PepperBONE-ME!" Ha ha ha! Zing! I don't need to tell you whose ball pen that waitress stayed at that night. My ball pen, that's whose. Because I'm referring to my crotch. The end. Oh, and this story was totally true.
If you can get past all the vomit and bowel activity, it's funny at first to read Tucker Max misadventures. But I was increasingly offended by the author's displays of contempt, just below the surface, towards the very women who are his enablers and benefactors. His ever ready hostility shows its ugly head if any of them pushes back even slightly, whereupon he immediately unleashes a vicious tirade of verbal abuse, calling them the worst possible names in loud public humiliations, and making it clear what he really thinks of them. This guy has issues. First he does everything he can to get women into bed, and then immediately turns on them with ridicule and contempt for having fallen for it. For some reason, because they are "girls" and he's a "boy," he thinks this is OK. Nice guy.
Even more baffling is that there continue to be legions of females who not only don't mind being treated this way but seem to seek it out. I wonder how many of the girls Tucker Max encounters understand what his attitude towards them really is. Book should be required reading for teen age girls; don't get used this way, if you have any self-respect.
on September 24, 2009
As I was struggling through the first parts of the book, I began thinking of the guy at the party that is telling an extremely long very common story, and at the end, when only a few chuckle politely, he says "well I guess you had to have been there." Don't get me wrong, I love politically incorrect, crude, and downright offensive humor, but this was just boring. How is telling a story about a bunch of drunken college kids stumbling about the local dives of a college town book-worthy?
The ironic thing about Tucker's work is the fact that he admits to being cocky, arrogant, and abrasive; however, he also belives he is an extremely talented writer. You can see this throughout the book as he consistantly reminds the reader as to how effective his writing style actually is. He is obviously very impressed with himself throughout the writing process. It is my belief that if one must remind the reader that he/she is, in fact, a great writer, then said writer might want to work on his/her form. The style was very unoriginal and a feeble attempt at mimicking similar antagonist writing styles in my opinion.
Sadly, this book will sell and inspire many young adults just begininng their transition into adult life that this is a desirable way to act and the idiocy will ensue. Good luck with your book, and I hear they made a movie as well. I'll probably miss out on that one, but congrats anyway. I hope they have better screenwriters than the actual author.
on October 12, 2009
If you haven't purchased the book yet save your money, go to a bar with your college friends, buy a few beers and reminisce. You'll get the same effect. I had no problem with the morality of Max's book. He gets obscenely drunk with his buddies and brags about it, has sex with random girls and brags about it, verbally bests teenage party goers and brags about it. Yawn. In other words he went to college.
He starts the book off by pronouncing all of his stories to be absolutely true which, as you can imagine, doesn't bode well for the actual validity of his tales. The real truth is that I heard most of these same stories (or variations) while Tucker Max was still in grade school. He repeatedly boasts about his wit and verbal prowess but his jokes are old and hack. When one overweight girl that he had an argument with earlier at a party walks into the kitchen where he is drinking with his friends and opens the refrigerator to get something, his unbelievably witty jab is "Looks like there won't be any leftovers tomorrow!!!" My mind was blown by the originality and razor-edged humor. And almost always, after his tired hacky insults he states that several girls within earshot found it hilarious, approached him and wanted to sleep with him based on this. Sure they did Tucker...sure they did.
The stories in I Hope They Serve Beer come across as being told by a high school kid who has never actually had sex or gotten drunk but wants everyone to think he is an expert and can outdo everyone else. Everything is just a little too outlandish to be taken seriously. It's like watching a movie with huge unrealistic plot holes in it.
If you are still not dissuaded from buying the book and still want to check it out, just go to tuckermax.com. Roughly 2/3 of the books is transcribed directly from blog posts on his website and a very few are actually a little funny at least.
I will hand it to him though, Tucker Max IS a great marketer and self promoter. What Tucker Max isn't is a remotely talented author, genuinely funny, or able to tell an original story.
on February 4, 2016
I had this book recommended to me by a cousin. Honestly, it comes off like an insecure, immature "man" that claims that he has the social skills to manipulate a lot of women into wanting to have sex with him. And maybe he really does.
What I could get through of the book was all juvenile bravado of having sex with a lot of women and getting really drunk. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult.
But the idea that this is some sort of pinnacle experience for a human male is painfully sophomoric. It's the hallmark of deeply insecure men (even those who have what they call "success" with the ladies) to proclaim their value as a human is based on how drunk they got (and thus how much "fun" they had) as well as how much p*ssy they could "conquer." But I've known a lot of people like this and they always seem empty and left wanting.
This need to brag about seeing women as potential conquests screams of unresolved mommy issues and while for high-school boys this may be normal, for adult men it's just boring, predictable and sad to witness.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy drinking with friends and even getting hammered and making an ass of myself once in a while. And while it can be fun, it would never cross my mind as a highlight of my life worthy of bragging about. And like most men, the attentions of a woman I find attractive can feel validating and empowering. But only a childish douche-bag would consider mutually consented sex to be in any way demeaning, conquering or taking advantage of their partner.
If this books premise is something you look up to, then perhaps some serious reflection on where your sense of self worth comes from may be in order. And if you don't know what that means, just enjoy the book. It was written for you specifically.
on October 2, 2009
A cluster of stories about an overgrown frat boy whose only recreational activities are getting drunk, insulting people and having anonymous and often degrading sex, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell doesn't know what it wants to be. It clearly is tangentially related to the "don't be like this guy" comedy of Seth McFarlane, Seth Rogen, et al, but also has millions of adoring frat boy fans who find Max' misogynistic alcoholic scumbag to be a positive role model.
I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell is funny at first, but the sheer repetition becomes numbing and finally appalling. It is difficult not to imagine him actually doing these things, which completely ruins the joke. It might have worked as a cartoon in the vein of the Seths, but as purported true stories, all you can imagine is this scumbag inflicting all this human suffering so he could get a chuckle or an orgasm.
Even by his own declared ethical standard of "bros before hos," the "Max" character (benefit of the doubt) fails, casually abandoning his friends to violence or Law Enforcement as he chases more empty pleasures which he will pursue again the next night.
The one positive thing about this book is that it exposes the frat boy culture as essentially sociopathic at core. For that reason alone, it should be required reading at University orientations.
on October 29, 2008
Ok, the book looked interesting, I had seven hours of air travel ahead, what the heck?
Flight takes off, so I begin reading the first chapter. ok, not so bad. Makes me even a little excited thinking about my pre-married with children days, and I am on my way to Vegas to boot! Perfect combination, at least until I got a couple of chapters into the book and realized that it sucked. it was poorly written, not at all riveting, and not original or thought provoking. By less than a quarter into the book, I started rooting against Max, hoping that he would pass out from doing 20-something shots and split his head open. I hoped he would get crabs. I wanted to read about the girl he knocked up. But except for one joke from a pissed off former girlfriend, none of that ever came to pass. Bummer.
Like previous posters said, if I want to hear stories about drunken boys getting laid I will hang out with my old school buddies, people I care about. Tucker, I just never cared about you or the shameless way you treated everyone around you. Good luck with your book in a few years called, "I Hope They Prescribe Rogain in Hell".