By Rex Pickett
Reviewed by Dom
I spent a few days between Christmas and New Years in Santa Barbara wine country, so it only makes sense that I would pick this debut novel from Rex Pickett for January.
It’s possible you’ve seen the movie, which was nominated for five Academy Awards and won for Best Writing/Adapted Screenplay. But, as always, the book will take you so much further into the story.
Miles and his best buddy, Jack, spend a week around Santa Ynez, ostensibly as a traveling bachelor party. Jack, a somewhat-famous actor, is getting hitched, but he wants to explore single life to its extreme in his few remaining solo days.
It’s a different story for Miles. He’s mostly aghast at what his friend is doing, but Miles has his own issues. Still stung by a divorce and a crisis of career, he wants badly to see his unpublished novel get picked up. It’s as if that will somehow reinvigorate him, and provide the ego boost he so badly needs.
Along the way we see the seedier sides of both men ooze out, but we also get to laugh. In fact, we laugh a lot. Pickett does a marvelous job of making two questionable dudes actually elicit sympathy from us, mainly because of the hilarious scenes and dialogue.
The book is something of a travelogue for Santa Barbara wine country, too, and – believe me – many of the locations mentioned in the book are still milking it today. And yes, I had to have dinner one night at the bar inside The Hitching Post in Buellton. You should, too; a dynamite burger special, reasonable prices, and a fun staff. You’ll see why Miles was so enamored with it.
Sure, Sideways is a buddy romp, but it does have something in it for everyone. Pick it up for 20% off when you mention Dom’s Book Club at The Tattered Cover Book Store, and enjoy!