I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
Like so many contemporary trends and fads, Tucker Max got his start on the internet. He built a small following sharing his wild (mis)adventures; choicely worded, oft-forwarded e-mails built his legend. A web site and blog followed. And now, this.
To be perfectly frank, this is horrible. It’s a first-person psychological case study: modern man loose and amok in Gomorrah. It’s amoral and utterly reprehensible. The premise: Inebriated rich kid fornicates. The basic plot line: Tucker Max gets drunks and finds a stranger to sleep with—or in the parlance, he “parties” and “hooks up.” Obviously, it was only a matter of time before MTV came calling.
Make no mistake, though, Tucker Max is no dummy. He graduated from the University of Chicago and went to Duke University School of Law on scholarship. And he can write. He blends slang and structure and has the clean, concise form born of blogging. At times, he even cooks up gems: “She was utterly fucking speechless. At that moment, if she shitted a dictionary you couldn’t have gotten a word from her.”
The key to his kingdom is an electric voice recorder that captures in perfect detail every bit of every escapade long after Tucker Max becomes incapable of remembering anything. He also takes great pride in espousing bitter, bitter truth when he is not just tipsy or soused or blotto, but “Tucker Max Drunk”—a raging, uncontrolled, id-driven, blackout-prone state.
The hodgepodge included here: stories about every liquor under the sun, endless sex conquests, intense psychological warfare, and relationships. Tucker Max appears pretty much anywhere there’s exorbitant alcohol and females: house parties, bars and clubs in such usual suspects as Key West, Las Vegas, and Southern state universities like UNC, UVA, and the University of Tennessee. To his credit, he did fight a minor-league ice-hockey mascot—on the ice. He lost.
The man clearly has some problems. Not just dedication to excess and wanton lust. He’s so in love with himself, he spent one evening at a club dancing with himself in a mirror for hours. And at times, Beer in Hell reads like spiced-up confessional dregs. “I recalled a childhood colored by parental instability, multiple divorces, re-marriages (seven between my two biological parents), step-parents, constant relocation, loneliness and emotional pain. No one cared about my problems, because they had already read about my father’s more recent divorce (it was in Time Magazine) and didn’t need any more details to know I was fucked up.”
Still, his tenacity is impressive. He’s shameless but honest, with the gumption to bare it all, good and bad. There isn’t much middle ground with Tucker Max. He has a legion of loyal idol-worshipping followers, and he is vastly, resoundingly reviled and hated. Either way, this book isn’t for the faint of heart, weak-stomached, or easily offended. If nothing else, it might effectively keep teenage girls celibate.