Back in January, Forbes ran an article sure to break the heart of many a fratty fanboy*: Tucker Max is retiring from writing stories about his drunken antics. His third book, Hilarity Ensues, would be the last of its kind. He hasn't retired from writing, and he hasn't retired his personality, he's just retired from writing about it, which is all the same to the audience.
With middle age on the horizon and most of his friends married and having children, Tucker has turned his focus to paleo dieting, mixed martial arts, and is keeping on eye on settling down and creating little Maxlettes. That might give you the expectation that Tucker's third book would be more introspective and nostalgic. It's not. He discusses retiring from the genre, but it takes up a mere 3 pages out of the book's 450.
Rather than trying to build the book around some meaningful story arc, Hilarity Ensues is just classic Tucker Max. And that's a good thing. Trying to blend his stories with a more traditional memoir could have worked, but it could have failed miserably. Tucker stuck with what he does best, and the result is a book that does a good job of closing the trilogy while staying true to its roots.
If you don't like Tucker's writing, you're not going to like Hilarity Ensues, and if you do, then you will. (If you're new to Tucker's writing, Hilarity Ensues refers back to previously told stories, so read the other books first.) It's pretty straight forward and he's a known quantity at this point.There's no real surprises here. At least, there's no real surprises in subject matter. The quality is surprising. Tucker's second book, Assholes Finish First, was a bit of a disappointment. It had some really funny stories, but much of it dragged and felt like a half effort. With 450 pages to fill, Hilarity Ensues left itself even more vulnerable to that problem. Thankfully the writing is back up where you'd want it to be. It's the Last Crusade of the series, redeeming the shortcomings of Temple of Doom and leaving us with enough classic Tucker moments to be satisfied.
For legal types, there's more about Tucker's experience in law school, and a bit of what happens to his law school friends. Not as in depth as the stories about his 2L job and getting canned mid-summer, but it gives you enough that if you were to cut the spines of Hilarity Ensues and I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, and remixed the contents, you'd be left with a book that could kick the milk drinking piss out of Scott Turow's 1L.
* Not every Tucker fan is a fanboy. There are people who read it for chuckles and who pick up on the introspective bits and appreciate the lessons Tucker learned. Those are fans. Then there are the people who miss anything that's not sex or insults, worship the ground Tucker pukes on, and who think that law school is a great idea because then they can have the same adventures that Tucker did. Those are fanboys. Those are the same types of people who watch Fight Club and think that Tyler Durden is the Second Coming without realizing that he's simply recreated the same unthinking sheep mentality as the cult of Ikea.