Tuesday, July 27, 2010

review of "The Pint Man" [56]

The Pint Man by Steve Rushin
Doubleday, ISBN 978-0385529921
February 23, 2010, 272 pages

Rodney, a thirty-something year old man who has not yet fully grown up, is in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment. Six weeks ago, he lost his job in 'corporate communications' for Talbott's when he wrote a speech for the CEO of the company and missed what proved to be a very embarrassing typo, and his search for a new job can hardly be called serious. On the personal side, his best friend Keith is moving to Chicago to get married and start a new job. But happily, there is still one constant in his life, his favorite neighborhood bar, Boyle's.
"Rodney has read a book called The Great Good Place, by an urban sociologist named Ray Oldenburg, who coined the phrase "the third place" to describe informal public gathering spaces-bars- that are neither home nor job. Rodney had no work and home was a way station, where he kept his books and his bed. For him, bars were his first. Home was the second. There was no third."
Yes, Boyle's plays a very important role in his life and in this book, but it is not the only thing. He has all those books...
"He kept every book he has ever read. Until there were just too many, he had them all on shelves, their spines displayed as trophies, like the taxidermied heads of big game he had bagged."
And now he has met a smart, beautiful woman, Mairead, "rhymes with parade", who shared his love of wordy banter...oh yes, it may be love!

On the surface, this book is a glimpse into Rodney's life and the love triangle he is caught in, between his bar and this delightful woman he has just met. While that is a fine story, with some very amusing incidents, the real attraction for this reader is Rodney's love of words...palindromes and witty banter, puns and spoonerisms, and endless examples of amusing trivia.
"Some people have a mind like a steel trap. Rodney had a mind like a lint trap. It retained only useless fluff: batting averages, ancient jingles, a slogan glimpsed once, years ago, on the side of a panel van, for an exterminator ("We'll Make Your Ants Say Uncle") or a window treatment specialist ("A Couple of Blind Guys") or a septic tank specialist ("Doody Calls")."
A man who love crossword puzzles and puns, who actually reads books and, most of all, could write an essay on what makes a good pint of Guinness...he may be the perfect man...lol

While this is Rushin's first novel, he is a very experienced writer. After graduating from college in 1988, he joined the staff of Sports Illustrated, where he was a senior writer until 2007. He has written three previous non-fiction books, including The Caddie Was a Reindeer, which was a semifinalist in 2004 for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. I suspect there is a bit of an autobiographical element to this book, at least in his love of Guinness and banter. And in how he met his wife, the former WNBA star Rebecca Lobo, in a bar. To quote a story from Wikipedia...
"In S.I., Rushin had written how he had slept with 10,000 women one night. He was referring, of course, to a WNBA game he watched and subsequently fell asleep. Rushin later recalled how Lobo confronted him in a Manhattan bar after reading that story. "She asked if I was the scribe who once mocked, in Sports Illustrated, women's professional basketball," he wrote. "Reluctantly, I said that I was. She asked how many games I'd actually attended. I hung my head and said, "None." And so Rebecca Lobo invited me to watch her team, the New York Liberty, play at Madison Square Garden. We both reeked of secondhand Camels. (And, quite possibly, of secondhand camels: It was that kind of a dive.) But my insult had been forgiven. It was—for me, anyway—love at first slight." He added: "She had the longest legs, the whitest teeth, the best-sown cornrows I had ever seen, and I imagined us to have much in common. I ate Frosted Flakes right out of the box, and she was on boxes of Frosted Flakes. I am ludicrous, and she was name-dropped in a rap by Ludacris. We were, I thought, made for each other."

Ok, enough quotes. But I can't help it, since I find Mr. Rushin a very amusing writer and I thoroughly enjoyed this wordy romp of a novel.

My sincere thanks to Random House for a copy of this book.


  1. Well, he'd better be witty and amusing, because any guy that has a love triangle with a girl AND A BAR should be slapped and told to grow up! I know plenty of those good old boys around my home town. It seems though that his wit has redeemed himself.

  2. Sounds like a good read to me. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Well, perhaps since I grew up in a bar, I understand his situation a bit...lol

  4. This sounds so good, plus I learned something from your review. I didn't know Rebecca Lobo had gotten married.

  5. This actually sounds like a fun book. I hadn't heard of it before.

  6. Kathy, they are married with three children...which is way married.

  7. This does sound like a fun one! I'm going to have to keep my eye out for it. Just the silly word stuff makes it sound worth reading.


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