- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; 1 Reprint edition (May 5, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307280454
- ISBN-13: 978-0307280459
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 165 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport Paperback – May 5, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Everybody knows how funny Hiaasen can be in print, but unfortunately something not so funny happens when he reads his own book about starting up again as a golfer after dropping the sport 32 years ago. Sentences that get a chuckle on the page sound pretentious or flat. Even though Hiaasen is reading his own material, his delivery is not relaxed and sounds stilted and actorish. There's some touching stuff as Hiaasen talks about his childhood memories of playing golf with his father, who died early, and real anger as he talks about how overdevelopment and crooked golf junkets are doing serious damage to his beloved Florida. But your money may be better spent buying several of the author's wacky mysteries—or a lesson from a golf pro. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 3). (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“In the summer of 2005, I returned to golf after a much-needed layoff of thirty-two years.” Any golfer knows that those words are a prescription for disaster. And any fiction reader knows that if it’s Carl Hiaasen speaking, the disaster will be not just disastrous but also hysterically, sublimely, surreally funny. And so it is, as recounted in diary form by the fiftysomething Hiaasen, whose gimpy knees and loopy swing consistently undercut the score-lowering results promised by the high-tech gimcracks and expensive clubs he gamely employs in the ongoing search for that elusive breakthrough. What makes Hiaasen’s 577-day diary of hopes denied and dreams deferred so appealing is its everyman aspect: average golfers have a lifetime of frustrations to match Hiaasen’s telescoped experience, and if we don’t have a cadre of famous kibitzers like writer Mike Lupica and golf broadcaster David Feherty to alternately ridicule and support our efforts, we do have our own inner demons, consistently overruling our attempts at positive thinking. Hiaasen, turning serious for a moment while watching his young son pounding away on the driving range, muses, “I believe this is how you’re supposed to feel with a golf club in your hands: Full of heart and free of mind.” Unfortunately, his painfully truthful account reveals all too clearly that “constricted of heart and tangled of mind” more accurately describes what most of us feel as we prepare to swing. --Bill Ott --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Hiaasen may not be a great (or even very good) golfer, but he has the lingo down pat and it is fun to read. Don't let that stop you if you are not a golfer. I cued up a dictionary of golf terms on my iPad and toggled between the book and dictionary as I read. Perfect!
Read this book. You will never look at golf the same way again. You will probably never take it up again, but that is another story . . .
Having thoroughly enjoyed each of these, and a few others of his works, and having taken up golf late in life, I bought "Downhill Lie" looking forward to seeing myself skewered in it and having some good laughs.....but that was not to be. This book is a dreary explication of a diary he kept, and has all the earmarks of something written to pay the rent.
It's not an outright bad book, just deadly dull. His passionate concern over what is happening to Florida comes through loud and clear. His description of "The Villages", the place shown over and over again on the Golf Channel ads, brings home the reality of what a monstrous overdevelopment it is, and the dirty little secret that "free golf for life" does NOT include the good courses at The Villages, only the ho-hum courses.
RECOMMENDATION: Save it for when you've read every other book on your list. Read it at a library; buy it only if you are insistent on owning every book in the Hiaasen canon, and then only when it's on the books-for-a-buck remainder table.
As expected, Hiaasen provides some witty observations, but these are much too rare. This book is little more than the diary of hacker over two years, and there is little entertainment value in that, unless one finds "I had three pars in the first five holes but then had three triples on the back nine and wound up shooting 97" to be engrossing reading.
Hiaasen tries to build some tension as he describes the preparation for his first club tournament, but the redundant episodes that lead to this climax had me frequently checking how many pages I had left before I reached the end of the story. That's not a good sign: it's like checking your watch in the middle of a movie to see when your liberation will arrive.
This book could easily have been written by a CPA ("True Adventures in Accounting?") and provide about the same amount of interest.
As a golfer for over thirty years, I found Carl's new book to be a delightful read. I actually laughed out loud on several occasions, and certainly understood the struggles he had with the ancient game. I would recommend this book to all golfers, and all Carl fans. If one is neither, then it is less likely to produce laughter or sympathy.
I have returned to the game after two surgeries, and his struggles are my struggles. I was a strong 7 handicap at one time, but my game is now much like Carl's. The occasional glorious shot brings me back, even with the double bogies and struggles to break 90. Similarly, I can hardly wait for each new Hiassen book, only there are no double bogies: only enjoyable reading.