Now while Mike is a voracious reader; I am less so. I get on kicks where I'll devour a book in two days, but I generally stick to short forms, like The Huffington Post or Regretsy. TV is and always has been my favorite means of storytelling.
But I am reading Vertical, because Mike got it for me for my birthday and Mike is awesome.
First things first--I've forgotten how dark Pickett's work is. The film plays Miles as a sort of sad, affable chump who occasionally drinks too much, but the Miles in Vertical, like the previous book, is a hardcore, dawn-til-dusk alcoholic who never draws a sober breath, even when he's driving cross-country. Yes, driving.
A lot of the prose is very repetitive. Yes, Miles, we know you're dropping your mom off in Wisconsin to live with her sister, you said that five pages ago, no need to repeat it for the hundredth time. Yep, you're speaking at a wine festival. Yep, you like Pinot Noir. Got it. Remembered it from the first book.
|Pictured: NOT YOU|
No. We deserve better. And we also deserve to be treated with dignity as characters. Stephanie, played by Sandra Oh in the film, is reduced to one line about becoming a crack addicted stripper after Jack breaks up with her in Sideways. This is a woman who is clearly a higher-up a successful, award-winning winery, and because one douchebag breaks her heart, she falls to pieces and becomes a drug-addicted slut? (their emphasis, not mine). I can buy the fact that Miles gets constant tail before I'll believe that bull.
Male authors do this because they think they're so awesome, and it's a way to get back at some cheerleader who hurt them back in high school. Kevin Smith does this in Clerks, which is why I can never watch it again. Clearly, making Caitlin Bree have sex with a dead guys is his way of getting back at a girl who hurt him. Real mature. It's a sign of weak writing, and it's all over Vertical. I got news for you guys--I've been hurt by lots of douchebags, and I cried and I listened to the Smiths, but I never became a drug-addled skank. I got over it. We all do. You are not that special.
Ultimately, Vertical drips with futility and self-indulgence. It didn't need to be written. I was not lying awake at night, wondering what became of Jack and Miles. Clearly Rex Pickett wants us to think he's awesome and bangs hot chicks all the time just because he wrote a book, but he would have stayed more awesome, in my mind, if he'd left the whole thing alone.