Monday, March 2, 2009

The Delivery Man: A Novel -- Joe McGinniss Jr. ------- 4 STARS

It is not often in my young career as an upstart book blogger I can review a book that probably nobody has read but today is that day. First a little background.

As anybody who reads this blog probably knows, I enjoy basketball. I play often and it is one of my few passions (besides 8-bit Nintendo playing). When I lived in D.C. for a short while I played at a gym up there with a buddy of mine from Hawaii who got me into the game. There was some good players up there and one incredible 3 point shooter. Anyway, fast forward a year and I am no longer playing there and my buddy has left but he forwards me a link about a book this 3 point shooter actually wrote. This is weird. First off when you play b-ball with strangers you don't really think about what they do for a living... really, you are just thinking about basketball. Second, when you hear that a basketball player is a narrative writer it is even weirder. Anyway, I picked up Joe's book The Delivery Man not expecting a whole bunch from a fellow basketball player yet it turned out to be really entertaining and quite good.

The book is basically a story about a group of young 20-somethings in Las Vegas. The main character is a guy named Chase who has more than a few problems in life...drugs, sex, violence (you know, the usual). Anyway, the story has a sort of Catcher in the Rye feel to it as Chase has so many issues but you can't help feeling for the guy and hoping he'll pull it together and not ruin everything. Also, the stories and escapades he gets into are incredible.

One of the major criteria when I review and ultimately rank books is how entertaining the book is. I said early on, I don't know that much about symbolism and literature tools but I know what is a page-turner and interesting to read... this book was tough to put down. The story is captivating and you really get into the characters. I wouldn't say I could identify with them on face value but the problems they face and challenges the encounter are typical for anyone.

I do recommend this book to everyone. However, it is not for the timid. The language and scenes are certainly R-rated and this is most definitely a modern look at Vegas. Yet if you can get past that (or even embrace it) you will find this book to be quite a story that will be tough to not finish in a week. Obviously, the author is both a gifted basketball player and writer. Give him a chance and take read of this book.


  1. Are you referring to Balance Gym? Best little gym in DC. Thanks for your very nice words about the book (and more importantly, my shot -- not sure which means more to me.)

    Drop a line sometime. Looks like you've reviewed some speactular works -- including the devastating Revolutionary Road -- which everyone should read.

    By the way -- The Delivery Man did actually do okay -- 4th printing, NY Times Editor's Choice, sold in 7 countries, film rights, and even Urban Outfitters is selling it.

    Sorry -- had to speak up for the performance of the book.

    Keep up the great work.


    Joe McGinniss Jr.

  2. Holy God!  How did you find my review so quickly?  Do authors have like special blogging services that send them reviews?Thanks for the lines though, that was really cool.   Also, sorry for not giving more praise for the book... I didn't realize Urban Outfitters was selling.All joking aside, the book really was cool.  I'll try catch you up at Balance some time.  Thanks again for saying hello.-- David

  3. the dangers of combining 'google alerts' with a snow/sick day ... all kinds of time to respond to generous reviews (and correct small errors)!

    Thank you again for reading it. See you on the court.


  4. david -- who was the friend who left for hawaii?

  5. One of my best friends growing up -- Tyler McNish. We grew up in Hawaii, he is at Berkley Law School now.

    He was in D.C. for a year and played at Balance fairly often... we did a team one year and got killed by you all in a league. Fun times though.


  6. Tyler -- of course. Loved his game. If you're in touch with him -- tell him I say hello.