I loved Steve Rushin’s columns in Sports Illustrated for their inventive wordplay and sense of fun, but I wondered how well these elements would translate to a full-length novel. While The Pint Man often stretches way too far to make a joke, it’s still a warm, funny story with a relatable protagonist.
Rodney Poole is an out-of-work bachelor who spends too much of his time at a decrepit Irish pub engaging in inane banter with the other lonely men ensconced there. Rodney is especially down because he’s about to get even lonelier. His best friend Keith is getting married and moving to Chicago.
Through a series of mishaps, including a bar fight, some broken bones, and some miscommunications and revelations, Rodney sees his relationship with Keith, and a promising new relationship with a woman threatened.
Though the plot is pleasing in its own right, the chief pleasures of The Pint Man are the puns and wordplay. True, sometimes Rushin overwhelms the reader with his need to prove his wit and the breadth of his intelligence, when it works it’s often very funny.