Paul Finebaum’s much anticipated book is out, and he is promoting the book signing tour as if it were a Led Zeppelin reunion. I don’t know if I-Man’s accounts of “lines being out the door” for book signing events can be taken at face value.
My experience with the book is this: I went to Wal-Mart in Troy, Alabama and marched up to the book and magazine section. I did not see Paul’s book, and figured I would have to try a real bookstore next time I travelled to Montgomery or Birmingham. I spent a few minutes poring over a fishing magazine, and then began to walk out.
While walking out of Wally World of Troy, I noticed a little couch, bed, and bookshelf combo decorated with Troy University blankets, pillow cases and pennants. Next to this mock dorm room was a small cardboard display with a couple dozen of Paul’s books. Maybe Paul is just not very big in Troy. Maybe the location and display of the books was not conducive to catch the eye of potential buyers. This was only a few days ago, and the book was already marked down from its suggested retail price of nearly $30 to a little less than $20.
I cracked the pages and went to the back to find the index. There was no index. I was hoping to quickly reference the page numbers where I could find stories of the people I’m most interested in.
I don’t know if the late, great “Shane from Centerpoint” made it into the book, but I didn’t find him. I didn’t find references to several people I thought should have been mentioned in a comprehensive overview of the Paul Finebaum Radio Network, and Paul’s broadcasting career. This is not really that kind of book. It tries to be both a brief autobiography and a riff on recent SEC history, thereby failing to do either effectively. It is a mash-up of what could have been a fascinating read mixed with the kind of book you leave by your toilet in the magazine basket.
Without giving it a thorough read, perhaps I should withhold judgment. In defense of my willingness to review the book without reading all of it, I say this: I have been a fan of Paul’s since his early days as a reporter. I have interviewed him over the years, listened to his show, and read most everything he has previously written, or that has been written about him.
Thumbing through his book last week, I could not find one new or interesting fact about Paul, or a new or interesting opinion from him (or anyone else) that I have not already read about, heard on his show, or learned through some other avenue. The publisher might as well have made this a pop-up book with pictures of Harvey Updyke spraying poison on the Toomer’s Corner trees and eating honey buns in a jail cell. Perhaps I’m too big a Finebaum fan and can’t be easily impressed or surprised.
I’m glad I took time to read the fishing magazine. Now I can remember how to tie a Carolina rig.
Here is a link to a second opinion on the Finebaum book.
Paul Finebaum has never, by his own admission, been a great writer. He was a good newspaper reporter who evolved into a great radio interviewer. Finebaum will now share some airtime on the SEC Network with former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow’s new media gig probably means the absolute end of his playing days. Finebaum’s cynicism combined with Tebow’s earnestness will make for an interesting combination for sure.