Chris's Reviews > Semi-Tough

Semi-Tough by Dan Jenkins
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's review
Jun 25, 2011

did not like it
Read from July 04 to 14, 2011

I like Dan Jenkins. As a budding sportswriter growing up near Fort Worth, I found it impossible not to. He's funny, insightful and he's forgotten more about golf and football than most people learn in a lifetime. I'll be reading his tweets from the British Open this weekend, no doubt.

That's why it absolutely pains me to pan this book. Maybe I'm just being prudish. Maybe I've become oversensitive. Maybe I didn't live through the free-wheeling late '60s and early '70s and just don't get it. But to say this book is dated is an understatement. I just read a travel book by Paul Theroux written in the late '70s, which holds up far better than this one.

The story, which can be best described as "Porky's at the Super Bowl," might just win the Michael Richards Award for most ethnic slurs, although homophobic slurs aren't far behind. The characters are mostly overplayed Texas stereotypes.

Now it's clear Jenkins tells this story tongue-in-cheek, but the irony gets lost in the n-words. Carl Hiaasen, who can also tell a wonderfully crass tale, sends up his characters more clearly and gives a better plot.

I take no joy in this. I can understand why Jenkins is one of the best sportswriters of the 20th century. But I can't understand why this was a best-seller.
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