Who doesn’t love the movie, Animal House? I mean, be honest - that is a great movie. So much fun – drunken, sexy, disrespectful fun. The book, The Real Animal House written by the real Pinto (played by Tom Hulce in the movie) is everything the movie is, only exponentially so. This is a raunchy, slightly fictionalized retelling of the Dartmouth Alpha Delta Phi debauchery of the early 1960s.
Now, I’m no prude, but I did find this book to be a little much. Miller is neither very funny nor that good a writer (or maybe he is and he just didn’t work that hard at it this time) and it took some fortitude on my part to make through 300+ pages of vomiting, urination, defecation, masturbation and fornication … repeated ad nauseum. While Harold Ramis’s foreword states that Miller was on the National Lampoon staff and co-wrote the movie with him, this book's prose leads me to believe that the others on the writing team took Miller’s wild tales and crafted them into the movie comedy we know and love.
The “where are they now?” section at the end of The Real Animal House is pretty interesting. A fair number of the Adelphia brothers are dead, several from alcohol-related issues; John Belushi’s character, Bluto, is a composite of several of Miller’s AD brothers; and Miller insists that Dean Wormer’s wife is in no way representative of the wife of his actual college dean (hee!). One thing that I think this book does do well is represent the strong friendships that can arise out of fraternities; Miller seems to have kept in touch with many of his brothers to this day.
The Real Animal House is a book for actual Alpha Delts or for people who are enormous fans of the movie and want to immerse themselves in all the lore. For the rest of us, it may be a little more than we need or want to know.
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