The Weekend Australian book review: Tucker Max – ‘Assholes Finish First’, January 2011

A book review for The Weekend Australian. Excerpt below.

Assholes Finish First
By Tucker Max
Gallery Press, 404pp, $US39.99

In 2006, American writer Tucker Max published I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell, a collection of nonfiction stories that revolved around boozing and sex.

Max was hailed as a pioneer of “fratire”, a masculine answer to chick lit, his book sold more than a million copies worldwide and was made into a film.

His follow-up, Assholes Finish First, is split into two sections. In the first we are in familiar territory as Max relives more sex-and-booze stories from his college days, taking us up to the release of his first book. The second section carried a self-explanatory title: “Post-Fame Sex Stories”.

Max hasn’t taken his rise to fame with particular grace: he details his early attempts to get published, describing how the stories that “eventually anchored” a No. 1 bestseller “got precisely ZERO interest from the very people whose only job is to discover new talent”.

Undiscouraged — “I’m a narcissist and a genius, and I knew what I had on my hands” — Max put the stories on his website for free, where their popularity soon attracted publishing houses.

While the genius tag is a bit much, Max has an immersive style that hurls the reader into the centre of the maelstrom. His writing has tightened up: there are fewer offhand comments, leaving more streamlined stories, told at a whirlwind pace.

The TuckerFest Story, the 60-page centrepiece, is the best example. It details Max’s first sniff of celebrity in 2003: a road trip from Chicago to New Jersey to judge a bikini contest at a wrestling show.

For the full review, visit The Australian‘s website. This is my first book review for the publication. For more Tucker Max, visit his website.

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