Monday, September 12, 2011

SEMI-TOUGH by Dan Jenkins

I had wanted to read this book because I loved the movie with Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, and Jill Clayburgh. It was a mistake, though, for several reasons. For one thing, the plot was completely different from the movie. In fact, there really isn't that much plot at all in the book. Secondly, there's so much political incorrectness that it wasn't just irreverent; it was downright offensive. Billy Clyde Puckett, Barbara Jane Bookman, and Shake Tiller have been friends since childhood. Billy Clyde and Shake are players for the NY Giants, in L.A. to play in the Super Bowl. Shake and Barbara Jane have been a couple forever, and Billy Clyde always has a flavor-of-the-month girlfriend. Billy Clyde has a book deal, and he's chronicling the week leading up to the Super Bowl. I know that this novel was published in 1972, and I'm willing to cut it some slack because of that, but the derogatory language and hateful putdowns get a little old after a while. And getting plastered the night before walking on the field for the Super Bowl? Really? I can't imagine the Manning brothers doing this, and the quarterback for the Giants in the book is named Hose Manning—after Archie, maybe? If the 1970s were about excess, then I guess this book hits the mark, but now it just seems shallow and gross. I have in my library Dan Jenkins' Rude Behavior, published in 1998, one of several follow-ups to Semi-Tough. I can't decide if I should read it to see if it's funny in a more palatable way or if I should just chuck it.

No comments: