First of all, I hated the movie Sideways. However, I watched it when I was maybe 19, had no appreciation for wine and a deep hatred for Paul Giamatti. Now I’m, well, older than that. I love wine. I still hate Paul Giamatti, but since he’s not actually in the book, I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did, since I found the book considerably more enjoyable — not sure whether to attribute that to my own personal changes, or that the adaption varied greatly from the novel (beyond my Giamatti hatred, I also don’t really remember the movie all that well).
“Pinot Noir country. My grape. The one varietal that truly enchants me, both stills and steals my heart with its elusive loveliness and false promises of transcendence. I loved her, and I would continue to follow her siren call until my wallet–or liver, whichever came first–gave out.”
So Sideways is about two guys taking a tour through wine county, prior to one getting married. The about to get married guy, Jack, is determined to sleep with at least one chick during this week. His morose buddy, Miles, has a failed marriage and a pretty much failed novel in his recent past, and simply wants to have a nice time. Jack, however, is determined to get Miles laid as well.
I thought it was a damn funny book. Morose Miles, my least favorite part of the movie, is so over-the-top pitiful that he becomes a source of comedy in the novel (or maybe I’m just mean). These guys are idiots, getting themselves into the weirdest situations (they go shooting boar at one point…it doesn’t end well) and involving themselves with these two women under false pretenses that leads to failure after failure.
I think what really made the novel for me was the writing: witty and sharp. There’s a lot of yammering about wine, and while I really enjoy drinking (very, very cheap) wine, I don’t care too much for talking/reading about it. But beyond all that, there’s the unlikely friendship between two men who are losers in their own (very different) ways, and that was a fun story to read.