Well this was a shocker, I didn’t like this one. Usually Nick Spalding can make me laugh until I hurt myself. “Dry Hard” really didn’t work for me though because I think that Spalding left out some things that could have rounded out the book more. We hear about how badly Kate and Scott behave when they drink. And there’s even references to their families realizing it and avoiding them. I think it would have been more realistic to have the parents and siblings back up Holly (their daughter) about how they behave when drinking. Instead Spalding seems focused on showing why YouTube stars are a problem, unless it’s his characters reaping the benefit.
“Dry Hard” follows Kate and Scott who though are happily married, wish that they had more time together. When both get stressed they like to drink. Unfortunately when they drink they don’t have a stop button and it causes both of them trouble at work. When they finally turn into boozy messes on Christmas their daughter Holly films them and then posts it on her YouTube channel in order to get her parents to realize they need to stop drinking. So that’s what Kate and Scott pledge to do. For a whole year, no drinking.
Of course we are supposed to laugh about them getting into scrapes and both wishing for a drink, but I didn’t find it very funny. Both characters are alcoholics full stop. Every description of them thinking about drinking, drinking til they black out, and the remarks made by friends and family shows that they are not seen as sober/competent. Unlike with the other couples Spalding has introduced us to over the years, I couldn’t warm up to Kate or Scott. Them deciding to chronicle their non-drinking on YouTube seemed out of character and also stupid. Spalding does this to tie together the whole YouTube culture thing and it doesn’t work at all. I get we are supposed to be rooting against someone, but the Kate and Scott were hot messes.
The other characters get very little development. Even though we switch to Holly at times, I think Spalding could have included more of her issues with her parents drinking. We get mentions of why she never invites friends to stay over. You think her parents would realize that and also really really apologize for it. The therapy session scene we get once again sucks.
The book wasn’t that funny to me. I mean at first I was smiling, and then cringing the whole way through. Probably because I have a brother who used to drink to the point he would black out and wake up and accuse everyone around him of all sorts of things. I also had an ex who was a “functioning” alcoholic. I just couldn’t find the book very funny. I think I would skipped over this if the synopsis hadn’t made it seem as if Kate and Scott don’t really have an issue with drinking, they just over drink a bit and get caught in a viral moment.
The ending was so unrealistic. I think we’re supposed to cheer on how things end up. But I already have issues with so-called YouTube stars using their platforms and how it can leave bad impressions on teens and adults. I am not going to lie, I will watch a video on how to snake a toilet or fix a sink. However, based on all the articles about “BS influencers” and how some people selling products are pretty much blackmailed into giving these “stars” money or get bad reviews I just have a bad taste in my mouth about the whole platform.