It’s time for a new installment of Hate Book Club! If you need a refresher, Patricia Ladd and I are reading books we think we will hate, and then reviewing them. Each post has to include a graph, a summarizing GIF, and at least some positive comments (sarcasm is allowed). I’m also doing little report cards at the end.
Well, Patricia and I may have finally broken Hate Book Club. See, this time we picked a book we thought we’d hate, as usual, except…we liked it. (Here is her review.)
Here’s the Situation is the autobiography/self-help advice book by Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, star of MTV’s Jersey Shore. The Situation rose to prominence on Jersey Shore after a failed first career working at a gym. His claim to fame: being muscular, tanned, promiscuous, and basically brainless.
But wait! The ghostwriter is Chris Millis, a humor writer and cartoonist who uses the book as an opportunity to make a cascade of jokes at The Situation’s expense. It’s not totally clear how much of the book The Situation was involved in writing, or honestly how much of it he ever read. There’s a good chance that he just flipped through the manuscript and said “sure.”
The result is stuff like: “I recently brought three girls back to my hotel room. After a little bit of fun, I realized I was down to two girls. It took me thirty minutes to discover the missing chick was lost in a crevice in my six-pack.” And: “Personally, my favorite drink in the club is anything given to me free, because I’m famous.” And: “I spent $1,828.94 on tanning in fiscal 2009.” And: “In my life, I’ve been a regular guy and I’ve been an international superstar. But the moral of my story is that I like the second thing a lot better.”
You’ll learn a lot when you read Here’s the Situation. For example: what parts of your body to shave (though he doesn’t discuss private parts), how to “creep” on chicks at the club, how to avoid “grenades” (ugly unpleasant girls who block you from banging hot chicks), how to create your own nickname (there’s a handy reference list like Redonkulation, His Emanation, and Jason Space Station), and even a pretty good lasagna recipe which I reviewed for the Dallas Observer. Because now I have a weird job like that.
Millis livens up the books with a lot of his cartoons, including a depiction of The Situation’s strong, muscular sperm swimming faster than all the other sperm. Plus there are other inventive ideas in the book. A fairy tale rewrite of Goldilocks works well: “Once as per a time in the forests of New Jersey there lived a Pappa Ab, a Mamma Ab, a Baby Ab, and three other abs. After crushing it all night at the club, they woke up the next morning and blended their wake-up protein shakes, setting them in the refrigerator to cool. Then the six abs piled into their Escalade and rolled into the village to hit the gym, get some color, and pick up their dry-cleaning.”
Less successful is a long, boring section where The Sitch randomly gives you camping advice. This takes up six pages. There are also a bunch of sidebars, boxes, and pull-quotes which contribute cheesy jokes, and these get pretty freaking repetitive.
Also, Millis can’t help adding dead giveaways that Sorrentino didn’t write the book. Does The Situation really know who Descartes is? Because there is a Descartes joke in here. The epigram is an extraordinary quote by Jersey favorite Marcus Aurelius.
But, as The Situation says, “Chill out, Freckles McGee.” Chris Millis has written a fun, silly, wacky book which makes Jersey Shore the butt of some fun jokes. Eventually the ideas get repetitive, because there are only so many times you can mock The Situation without repeating yourself. But that’s why Here’s the Situation is only 133 pages. And the last three pages are instructions for making an ab-shaped pillow. I assume Patricia will review that.
P.S. In another Hate Book Club first, I’ve actually had an email conversation with the ghostwriter. He’s a nice guy, and was understandably very freaked out that I was publishing an article reviewing the lasagna recipe. When the review came out, he wrote, “Thanks, Brian. Um… I think.”
I did not ask Chris about his own relationship with The Situation’s views on women. Certain sections, like “Women as Food,” cross the line into gross and terrible, even if they are parodies. Based on his Twitter feed, which is notably opposed to Neanderthal social views, Millis was just taking the parody too far.
Conclusion in GIF form
Hate Book Club Report Card
(all scores on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most)
Hateability of message: 1 (if ironic), 8 (if sincere)
Hateability of writing style: 2
Pleasure derived from hating book: 9