The Luigiian Book Review: Maddox’s The Alphabet of Manliness

alphabet_manliness1.pngOf all of the websites on the Internet, probably the most caustic, vile, and excellent website is Maddox’s “Best Page in The Universe.” Attacking everything he can think of, from Christopher Reeve to abortion advocates to pro-life advocates to music companies, this former telemarketing- company programmer has built an entire fanbase on vitriol and sarcastic writing. His style, in many ways, resembles George Carlin’s, with an in-your-face, no-holds barred sort of style that doesn’t so much laugh as, well, kick ass.

So, it’s obvious that this sort of writing style might be good for a book. Enter The Alphabet of Manliness. Maddox took a long hiatus from his website to write both this book and a comic book on a similar note, taking an obvious opportunity to make some money off of his website acclaim–which loses him money, since he uses no advertisements.

The Alphabet of Manliness uses a format that feels both unusual and cliched at the same time. As you might have guessed at the title, the book moves like a child’s story book, starting each chapter with a letter of the alphabet–for example, A is for “Ass-Kicking”; B is for “Boners”; and so on. As you also might expect, this style makes the book feel extremely contrived at times–for example, using Chuck Norris for the “N” chapter feels less like a Maddox idea and more like a last-ditch effort at producing a subject that begins with the letter N–and that’s very unusual for a man whose work is synonymous with unrestricted content.

good_manliness_illustration.jpgAs a first book, The Alphabet of Manliness isn’t terrible, with good illustrations, decent writing, and a clear manliness about it. Maddox shows unusual amounts of self-deprecating humor, with a typical section on hot sauce saying that fish like hot sauce–because when Maddox fed a fish some, the fish “started doing tricks like swimming on its side”, which seems to suggest, you know, Maddox being a dumbass for once. There’s also a good deal of entertaining work in this book, with sections on lumberjacks, pirates (“It’s considered impolite to rape”, Maddox warns them) and works on “zombies”, namely the ones you see daily at the office, not the ones that eat peoples’ brains.

But Manliness still isn’t even close to being the best book in the universe. For one thing, there’s Maddox’s treatment of women. Maddox’s website was always described as “an outlet to express [Maddox’s] frustration.” So, on his website, I give Maddox a pass on his treatment of women and children, assuming that he probably has a little brother that gives him crap and what people would probably describe as “girl troubles,” thus making him want to vent.

I’d give his book the same pass if it actually felt like Maddox was venting. There’s no anger in this book. The frustration shown in works like “I Hate Cameron Diaz” is nonexistent, and the writing is almost lifeless. Chapters on obedience-training women and other such topics make Maddox come off less as an annoying nerd and more like an ignorant bigot in his freshman debut, and some of the chapters border on sexual perversion that wouldn’t be out of place on “Lowtax” Kyanka’s Something Awful, especially chapters on “Knockers”, “Copping a Feel”, and “Sneaking a Peek”.

The problem Maddox’s book suffers from is a complete lack of everything his site stood for. Too much of this book is about attacking women and children, and even more is devoted to sex. Sure, there’s plenty of farts, breasts, and cursing in this book. But for those of us looking for a more scathing satire of something besides Internet pornography, this book is an extreme disappointment. And, in the end, even a team of illustrators, publishers, and plenty of money isn’t enough to stop Maddox’s middle-age spread.


5 Responses to “The Luigiian Book Review: Maddox’s The Alphabet of Manliness”

  1. Brian Says:

    I definitely agree on the self-deprecation. It surprised me from him, because the policy of his website appears to be “no retreat, no surrender.” I wonder how much the reflects the publisher input. (You have to figure they may have told him to tone it down in places.) And he was definitely reaching and uninspired on a few chapters.

    However, I read this book very quickly, only stopping from time to time (particularly in the early chapters) because I was tearing up from laughing so hard. In my opinion it’s a must read for anyone who enjoys rough humor and isn’t easily offended; particularly those that regularly visit his website. (And heck, it’s only 11 bucks on Amazon.)

    Good review though. Glad to see somebody reviewing this book out there, it’s a bit of a hot potato. :)

    • Maddox hater Says:

      You sicken me with your suckin’ up to Maddox. Therefore, you, him, and his other ass kissers can screw the shit out of each other for all I care.

  2. luigirepublic Says:

    Thanks Brian. Agree with you on all of your points about the book. I read through it in three days. It’s funny, but it’s just not as scathing where I think it should be. I’m giving the book to a friend, so they can read it too, but, yeah, it’s all right, just not up to Maddox’s standard.

  3. Maddox Sucks. « The Luigiian/ Says:

    […] Something Awful from his website. Or maybe it was when he released his literary abortion known as The Alphabet of Manliness. Perhaps it was whenever his fanboys started writing knockoffs so bad they almost made The Alphabet […]

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