You may know Carl Hiaasen for his fiction (both adult and young adult) or for his work as a journalist. In â€śThe Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport,â€ť he tackles memoir, and he does so in classic Hiaasen style -- with a twisted sense of humor. The book starts with Hiaasenâ€™s return to golf in the summer of 2005, â€śafter a much needed layoff of thirty-two years.â€ť Traveling back in time, he relives his â€śfirst taste of golfâ€ť as a shag caddy for his father at eleven or twelve years old. In high school, he played weekend rounds with friends at a course surrounded by retirement developments. Looking back on that period, he recalls: â€śDespite the trampled fairways and corrugated greens, I actually started enjoying myself Â -- the mood was loose and raunchy, and it was uplifting to discover that my friends stroked the ball as erratically as I did.â€ť
The good times lasted only so long. At twenty, Hiaasen threw in the towel, self-aware enough to admit that maybe golf just wasnâ€™t his thing. Decades later, he falls prey to a desire to show up his younger self, confessing that his comeback is due to the fact that heâ€™s â€śone sick bastard.â€ť The anecdotes he records in a 577-day diary during this period grow increasingly and absurdly comical. He loses a golf cart in a pond, uses a golf club to combat a rodent with a â€ślong, twitchy black tail,â€ť and enters somewhat pathetic territory when, watching an infomercial, he becomes mesmerized by a pendant said to â€śhold marvelous powers.â€ť Whether youâ€™re an avid golfer or not, youâ€™ll likely relate on some level to the riveting â€śman versus selfâ€ť battle at the core of this book, laughing all the while. Listen here for an excerpt.