Review of The Alphabet of Manliness

You know what you’re in for when you pick up a book, look at the back cover, and read a quote by the author’s mother that says “I didn’t raise you like this. Why are you like this? Your father’s not like this either. This is terrible.”

Maddox, owner of the massively popular and controversial, has published The Alphabet of Manliness, a 26-chapter guide to all things masculine. Essentially the web site in book form, it’s the best of his online work with an extra helping of testosterone.

Each letter of the alphabet is given a manly topic: I is for Irate, “man’s default – and only – emotion,” R stands for Road Rage, V, of course, is for Violence, and so on.

Maddox covers familiar ground in the book, and fans will instantly recognize his outrageous, and hopefully fictitious, anecdotes, his recommendation to eat three animals for every one a vegetarian doesn’t (one that would be eaten anyway, one the vegetarian doesn’t eat, and one more for spite), his thorough disrespect for women and mockery of children’s artwork. Still, most of the book is new material.

The humor is crafted to offend; if you can’t take a joke about head-butting a fireman in the testicles and throwing his dalmation in a river, this isn’t something you’ll want to read.

For the rest of us, this book will be hard to put down. The text is vintage Maddox, but the theme of manliness gives it more direction than his web writings, which cover Helent Hunt, computer certifications and even Christopher Reeve in bile. The tone is almost a positive one here, expounding more on the greatness of manhood rather than the flaws he sees in pop culture, advertising and women.

Some of the more crude humor could be mistaken for George Carlin material, especially in D is for Taking a Dump: “You don’t actually take a dump so much as you leave one – and where you leave one is up to you!” The accompanying picture shows a young boy, horrified by the contents of his lunch bag.

The rest of the book’s illustrations, created by a team of Maddox’s readers, contribute a lot of humor to the writing as well. The artists did an excellent job of handling the bizarre topics, such as a slab of beef jerky slaughtering vegetables with a gatling gun and sperm brutalizing each other.

At 204 pages, the book isn’t too hefty for light readers. The book itself is hardcover, with relatively large print not unlike the website’s; Maddox makes no secret of his hatred for “micro-fonts.” It’s safe to call the cover illustration “creative.”

Whether you’ve read The Best Page in the Universe for years or just have a rugged sense of humor, you’ll probably enjoy The Alphabet of Manliness.

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