Brief Guide to Better Living?
The first thing that really struck me about The Heming Way wasn’t really the subject matter; it was the length. Not including the notes section at the end that cites his sources, the text is a scant 77 pages, including several images littered throughout. That’s some very light reading and this is very light material.
That said, what is there once again put a smile on my face. Marty Beckerman dissects the life and lifestyle of Ernest Hemingway, encouraging all the men of the world to live like men again. To live like Ernest Hemingway. In short, to live the Heming Way. The satirical tone used by Beckerman is not unlike Stephen Colbert; you can’t really tell if we should be taking him seriously. Surely, this is comedy, right?
A Coward Dies a Thousand Deaths
Consider this excerpt:
It’s never too late for an early checkout. And contrary to popular opinion, a natural death is worse than one in your red-hot prime.
“Dying is only bad when it takes a long time and hurts so much that it humiliates you,” according to Papa, so try to “die in all the happy period of undisillusioned youth, to go out in a blaze of light, than to have your body worn out and old and illusions shattered.” (He wrote this latter nihilistic axiom at the autumnal, withered age of nineteen. Emo.)
Beckerman obviously isn’t promoting the act of suicide, but it is precisely through this kind of dark comedic dissection of Ernest Hemingway that we get some guilty laughs.
Blame His Overbearing Mother
“The Heming Way” to approach women is equally far away from political correctness:
If she’s angry, you can’t tell her to calm down or else she will scream louder; if she’s depressed, you can’t tell her to cheer up or else she will cry harder. If she’s anything besides angry or depressed, you’re not speaking with a woman. (In which case: congratulations.)
If you’re offended by such assertions, even in jest, then this is clearly not the book for you. And Beckerman is clearly not the author for you either. If, on the other hand, you’re willing to suspend those beliefs and just accept the humor for what it is, you will get some decent laughs out of this short book.
A Hairy, Drunk, War-Mongering Carnivore
So, go ahead. Grow out your body hair. Slaughter animals for sport to the point of near extinction. Partake in “alcohol sponge-baths.” Enjoy the “wholesale carnage” of war. Live the Heming Way… or don’t. It’s probably not a good idea to live like that at all.
Disclosure: I was not paid to write this review, but I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book. This in no way affected my opinion.