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ISBS Review: Drink, Play, F@#k

By Brian | February 20, 2009 | Share on Facebook

It happened three times.

I’d be sitting on a train, reading Drink, Play, F@#k: One Man’s Search for Anything Across Ireland, Vegas, and Thailand by Andrew Gottlieb, and a woman on the train would smile at me and sigh just a little. Then she’d get a closer look at the cover. The smile would degrade into a frown of confusion, and finally come to rest as a smirk of contempt. The third time, the woman in question was actually reading her copy of Eat, Pray, Love: One woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. I’m telling you – there might be five men on the entire planet that have read that book, and four of them read their wives’ copy while no one (including their wives) were looking. The prospect of finding a man reading it on a commuter train was a source of great fulfillment for these women, cruelly dashed by the clever cover art of Paul D’Innocenzo.

When I first saw Drink, Play, F@#k… in the bookstore, I chuckled to myself, but wrote off buying it because I figured it was a parody of Eat, Pray, Love…, and most of the humor would be lost on me (given that I’m not one of the five men discussed earlier). But then Martin Wilson, the book’s publisher, saw my blog post on the topic, and sent me a free copy. And so, with my ego properly stroked and my motivations properly aligned, I read it. And I’m here to tell you that I fully enjoyed it, even though I still have no idea (or desire to learn) what Eat, Pray, Love… is all about.

Drink, Play, F@#k… concerns Bob Sullivan, a thirty-something New York businessman who’s wife of eight years leaves him for another man. In an effort to rid himself of the pain this caused, Bob decides to quit his job and spend a year cavorting around the world. His trip is divided neatly into three, four-month jaunts – to Ireland, where he drinks heavily, to Vegas where he plays everything from craps to golf, and to Thailand where he, well…you can read the title.

Bob establishes up front that his true love in all of this, his metaphor for life if you will, is the roulette wheel. So much so that the book is divided into 38 small chapters – twelve in each country, plus two introductory chapters (the zero and double-zero). I’ve always liked books that are organized this way – you can pick them up, read an entire chapter, and walk away feeling like you accomplished something in less than five minutes. Not that I put this book down too many times…

Before you think I’m gushing just because I got a free copy of the book, I should tell you that my hopes were not high in the beginning. The first twelve chapters (Ireland) were supposed to be about drinking. As it turns out, only eight of them were. The other four were rants about Bob’s ex-wife, intended to explain to us just how hurt and pissed off he was about his wife’s infidelity and general whininess. One of them is even dedicated to clarifying that his wife is not the “evil, crazy bitch” that the other three chapters clearly show her to be. The other eight chapters were indeed about drinking, but that’s really about it. Bob drinks with a redhead named Giovanna. He drinks with his friend Colin. He drinks in exotic locations. And while he’s drinking, well, not much happens. I was beginning to think that the entire book was going to be a plotless platform for this fictional guy to bitch about his cheating ex-wife.

Then Bob went to Vegas. Here, me meets his “guru,” Rick, and together, they have several, honest-to-goodness adventures. There are the requisite “win a lot of money” and “lose a lot of money” stories that you’d expect from a Vegas trip, but also some clever bits on a golf course and even a helicopter ride with a hot waitress in the Grand Canyon (want to know more? Read the book!). By the time Rick sends Bob off to Thailand to get laid, I was thoroughly hooked.

In Thailand, as promised, there is plenty of sex. But along the way, the adventures continue. Bob meets some interesting characters, not all of which turn into sexual conquests, and eventually redeems his Ireland stories with a nice tie-in to the first section that I won’t reveal here.

When all was said and done, I walked away feeling completely satisfied with the story. It was a quick read, cleverly written, and with enough plot twists to keep me interested throughout. This is the kind of book I’ll probably throw into a beach bag a few years from now and read again, because I’ll remember it as a good read, but forget the details of what happened.

…and also to see the looks on the womens’ faces when they realize what I’m (not) reading.

Topics: ISBS Reviews | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “ISBS Review: Drink, Play, F@#k”

  1. FamilyGreenberg.Com - What Happened? A Summary of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan says at February 21st, 2009 at 10:44 pm :
    [...] ISBS Review: Drink, Play, F@#k [...]

  2. Ilya says at February 25th, 2009 at 11:40 am :
    So, it is a travel adventure book, as advertized. I might read it, now. Thanks, Brian!

  3. Brian says at February 25th, 2009 at 3:02 pm :
    Well, yes, I guess it is. Although it is fiction, if that wasn’t clear from the above. I think you’ll enjoy it, Ilya, although not because of your love of travel – more for your highly developed sense of humor.

    (BTW, is the graphic in this post OK? I think I know what caused the other problem, but keep forgetting to e-mail you and ask)

  4. Ilya says at February 27th, 2009 at 2:08 pm :
    No problems with the graphic that I saw. Sorry, it took me a while to circle back to this comments thread.


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