> A REVIEW OF WAKE UP AND SMELL THE BEER (2004) | jason jordan

Starbucks, the omnipresent, capitalist juggernaut, once tried to develop a beer-flavored coffee, which is what this book's title is referencing, but you won't learn that tidbit of information until Jon Longhi concludes on page 192. Overall Wake Up and Smell the Beer (Manic D Press, 2004) is somewhat brief, though it still doesn't cease to be an amazing read, despite being filled with tales of angst and a cast plagued with melancholy.

While Longhi has categorized his latest novel as fiction, I can't help but wonder if it's more like embellished nonfiction simply due to the realness of the events and characters. After all, I know how this sort of thing works. Anyhow, the book centers on a large assortment of characters that are basically latched to a rundown house in San Francisco. It is both at the aforementioned and other locales that the main characters dabble in more drugs than even Hunter S. Thompson could imagine. Consequently, it's thrilling to read about people (sorry, characters) who throw caution to the wind by partaking in such hedonistic practices.

Now, with such a large cast, one has the propensity to get lost in the ever-revolving entrances and exits of different characters. In other words, it can be arduous to keep tabs of who's who, and the back-story of each individual character. However, the most vivid exemplifications are utter joys to read about and when filtered through Longhi's sardonic lens everything works just as it should. Similarly, the events that transpire and the dialogue are so completely well done that it's almost unimaginable. Furthermore, Wake Up and Smell the Beer is just a great albeit short read.

Interestingly enough, Jon Longhi wrote in my copy of the book, "Beer = Life!" After reading his full-length, I'm inclined to believe so. Longhi fanatics may also want to unearth Eaves of Ass #4 (Fort Venom Stories), a zine based in Louisville, Kentucky, for stories in a similar vein, though the former is much more terse.

> BIOGRAPHY | about the author

Jason Jordan is many things. He is staff reviewer for this magazine. He is the host of the BEAN STREET READING SERIES. He is an editor of The IUS Review. He has been a featured writer at the Tuesday Night Reading Series in Evansville, Indiana. His writing appears in THE EDWARD SOCIETY and THE2NDHAND. He is a writer.