Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review of "The Wet and the Dry" by Lawrence Osborne

 It's more of a mini-review because the book is short, and more so if we are honest, because I didn't enjoy the book. I feel like what this book said it was going to do and what it actually did were two very different things. The blurb for the book says that the author would ponder these questions:  is drinking alcohol a sign of civilization and sanity, or the very reverse? Where do societies fall on the spectrum between indulgence and restraint? 

He did this, in some places kind of. There is an interesting sounding group of Muslims in the middle East called the Druze. They don't have a problem with drinking whereas a lot of other Muslims do.

There was one sentence I liked from when he was at a winery in Lebanon. It was "But one never knows who will come out of these beautiful hills. A wine critic or a man with a Kalashnikov".

He lost me completely with the story about him and his beautiful Italian girlfriend who were spending New Year's in Oman, and how they spent all day running around trying to find champagne, couldn't find any (or any bar up to their standards, so they had to celebrate with watermelon juice (his first sober New Year's in decades, but luckily for him his girlfriend wasn't so upset that they didn't fool around all night. 

I think what is basically came down to for me was this. He goes into places where drinking is taboo or frowned upon for some reason, and then proceeds to get drunk there. If he did this with humor and grace and understanding I might have been more open to this book. I mean, even the Oman story could have been saved by a little humor. However, through the whole book he displayed a self absorbed aloofness that did not make me anxious to see what would happen next.

If nothing else this book made me a little depressed. I'm sure Oman, Lebannon, Pakistan, and the other countries mentioned have something offer any visitor if you're not there strictly to drink. I give the book 2 out of 5 stars. (I tried to follow April's advice on how to write a negative review. Hopefully I did okay. I obviously harbor no negative feelings to this author, I just don't care for his book.)


*I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books*

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