NOTE: This is one of the last posts I published at In Mala Fide, on May 31, 2012. One minor correction: in the year since 2012 was released, Frost has made it free to download, which (somewhat) mitigates its considerable problems.
When Frost emailed me an advance copy of his latest book, an account of the wild and crazy adventures he had in Southeast Asia several months ago after quitting his boring cubicle job, I was excited. As I wound my way through the first chapter, my excitement turned to disappointment, my disappointment to frustration, and my frustration to anger. In the darkest recesses of my id, I fantasized about hopping on a plane to Italy, tracking Frost down and repeatedly kicking him in the daddy-makers for wasting my time.
Fortunately, I decided to finish reading the book instead, and the reason why Frost isn’t in a hospital and I’m not in an Italian prison for aggravated assault is because 2012 gets better. But what could possibly infuriate me to the point where I’d want to inflict grievous bodily harm on one of my e-homies? Witness and weep:
Then the disillusionment set in. I saw every piece of research I worked on get devoured by the black hole of bureaucracy. My team’s concrete goals fizzled into vague commitments that never amounted to anything. The reality set in that my career consisted almost entirely of pretending to work.
I mentally checked out. I stopped looking for new projects to be a part of, and started churning out the bare minimum of low-quality output that would keep eyebrows from being raised. I cut my work schedule back to five-ish hours per day at my desk, and used that time to start a blog, read books, and aggressively surf the internet. Weekday nights went from casual happy hours to all-night extravaganzas that left me catatonic in my office chair the next day. I used my sick days as quickly as I was earning them, and requested a week of unpaid vacation in addition to my standard three weeks.
In short, I did whatever I could to spend as little time as possible at the Sisyphean, soul-sucking task of doing work that I knew would have zero effect on the world. In retrospect, I suppose a part of me was hoping that this would catch up with me and I’d be forced to make a change.
This passage is a fair example of why the first part of 2012 is a slog to get through: too much monologuing. The first rule of good storytelling is to show, not tell. Frost’s first chapters fall flat on their face because he all but wipes his ass with this rule. Rather than showing us the mind-numbing pointlessness of his life back in Canada, he tells us about it in annoying blog-like diatribes like the one I quoted above. While he does try to show us a little bit with a story about how he tried (and failed) to trick a fuck-buddy of his into a threesome, that’s it. It’s not just boring, it’s insincere, offensively so. If I didn’t know anything else about Frost, the first part of 2012 would convince me that he’s a spoiled jock asshole whose parents should have beaten him more often when he was a kid.
But like I said, the book gets much better after you’ve cleared the first two chapters, mainly because Frost stops monologuing in a phony baloney voice and starts showing us his misadventures in his actual voice. While his escapades aren’t as extreme as other travel writers like Roosh or Naughty Nomad, the mark of a good writer is the ability to take the mundane and dull and make it interesting, and Frost makes his adventures enthralling and engaging:
“Fuck! Like we couldn’t fuck because I was too drunk. But I said, look, I can’t fuck right now. But YOU are cumming tonight. You are going to have some fucking fun. And she told me that it’s OK, that I didn’t need to, but I was like, fuck that! You are fucking cumming and you can make it back up to me later! So I ate her fucking pussy so hard that she fucking…”
Tom choked on his gin: “What? You ate out a hooker? On Loi Kroh? At one o’clock in the morning? Dude, do you know how much cum you must have drank?”
“Man, I don’t give a fuck! She was so fucking hot. And I was fucking DRUNK! All I cared about was just nah nah nah nah.” Pierre mimed eating out what looked like a giant horse pussy. Tongue hanging out, head moving up, down, side to side, all over an imaginary vagina the size of a sheet of paper. The table erupted into laughter and disgust.
And when he gets to describing his time in Sihanoukville, Cambodia—a veritable Sodom of cheap drugs and easy sex—you’ll be rolling in your loveseat from laughter.
I read 2012 from front to back in the span of three hours. By the time I reached the last page, my rage had dissolved, I had a smile on my face and the bitter taste of the first two chapters was just a distant memory. Unfortunately, I still have to give it a thumbs down. Why?
Simply put, it’s not a book.It’s not even half a book. It’s a third of a book at best. It’s slapdash, unfinished and doesn’t hang together as a complete work. While Frost has some interesting stories and worthwhile ideas to share, there’s not enough meat in 2012 to justify its existence. The entire time I read it, I felt like he was just phoning it in. The problem is that rather than doing the logical thing and waiting until his grand tour of the world was over and then writing a book about the whole shebang, Frost inexplicably rushed out a third of a book based on a third of his trip. It shows; 2012 ends after only about seventy pages and basically ends on a cliffhanger, without any kind of conclusion. I was entertained, but the book ultimately left me feeling empty.
And while I could forgive the book’s faults if it was being sold for a dirt-cheap price like $2.99 or $3.99, 2012 is presently priced at $8.99, which basically constitutes highway robbery considering its mediocrity. However, in Frost’s defense, he is offering a coupon code that will let you buy 2012 for half-price until June 7th, kicking it into “worth buying” territory; just barely. Basically, for a sophomore effort, The 2012 End of the World Tour is unacceptable.
Panning 2012 doesn’t give me any joy at all. Frankly, I feel like a jerk. It’s one thing to rip into a book from someone who has no business writing, but I know Frost is a great writer. He’s smart, he’s knowledgable, he’s observant, he’s funny… and he’s lazy. He’s the equivalent of the really smart kid in class who flunks out because he doesn’t hand in his homework on time. It’s painful to watch a guy who has so much promise wasting his talents like this.
Fortunately, Frost has one more quality that contributes to his strength as a writer and thinker: he’s receptive to criticism and willing to acknowledge when he’s fucked up. Hell, he even went so far as to release a second edition of his first book, The Freedom Twenty-Life Lifestyle Guide, taking my criticisms of the first edition to heart. Does that mean we can look forward to The 2012 End of the World Tour: Expanded Edition in November? I hope so.
Bottom line? The 2012 End of the World Tour is worth a buy only if you grab the coupon code and buy it for half-off. Otherwise, skip it.
Click here to buy The 2012 End of the World Tour.
Read Next: A Generation of Men by Frost