The Wet and the Dry: A Drinker’s Journey by Lawrence Osborne (2 out of 5)


This is precisely the sort of book I usually love to read. I heard about this through Blogging For Books. I love to read the occasional travel essay, travel memoir, armchair travel; really, the list of names for this sub-genre never quite end. I requested it and received my copy. I sat down earlier this evening and tore through the small, lightweight volume rather quickly. What did I come away with? Not too much, unfortunately.

I think the moment the phrase “sickness of the soul” is used to describe drinking in the text of the book, I expected more of a psychological study to ensue. Lawrence Osborne does his best to hit every corner of the globe and witness how different people, different geographical locations, different age groups, and different cultures embrace, and often shun, the past-time that many enjoy- drinking. There’s a little bit of history here, a little bit of country, not much rock n’ roll. Osborne takes us through the paces, depending on where he’s hanging his hat and whip that evening. Not too much in the way of funny, witty repartee, but tons in load of his observations. Most of them appear to be spot on. Osborne certainly delivers his prose in funny, seasoned language of a man who’s traveled the globe and knows his geography. However, he is clearly taken aback in some parts of the world with the attitudes toward drinking. You learn a bit about different parts of the country, but again, these experiences seem truncated somewhat. I expected a bigger book and more tales to follow, so when I received the book and saw it, I was disappointed. He packs a lot of locales into the book, but its short on lengthy tours of duty.

Again, I think a lot of my disappointment stems from the fact that I expected there to be more psychology here, in addition to the colorful adventures that Osborne shares with us in his travel diary. I was also glad to note that since he’s writing so extensively about the subject matter, that Osborne himself likes to tipple. At least he’s methodical in his research! The book is well written, easy to read, and is refreshingly honest. However, it’s just missing those several key elements that I spoke of. Once you plug that in, it would have rated higher, had it reached those plateaus. Although honest, well researched on all angles, and a subject matter that I haven’t yet run into in book form, it just was not deep or exciting enough to keep my interest for long. I did finish it, as I am one of those people who have to read the whole book once they have started it, but it didn’t pop any corks with me. 

I received this book courtesy of the Blogging For Books website.

~ by generationgbooks on July 30, 2014.

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