Matt Forney
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End Game by Dirt Man

Dirt Man is one of the manosphere’s most interesting, underrated bloggers, mainly because he approaches masculinity and sex from a distinctly philosophical bent. Most people in the manosphere approach game from a utilitarian mindset—do x thing and become y so you can bang z girl—but Dirt Man looks beyond, to the great questions of life and the universe. His “Letters to a Young Man” series is some of the finest writing to come out of this part of the Internet.

But does this make his debut book, End Game, worth buying? Well…

When Dirt Man first announced End Game, I took a look at its Amazon sales page and stopped cold when it said that the book was only 32 pages long. “That’s got to be a typo,” I thought. “No one would publish a 30-page book. I’ve written essays in college that were longer than that.” While I’ve urged people who want to publish books to always offer a paperback version alongside the electronic versions (because most people still don’t consider a book “real” unless it exists in physical format), the unstated implication in my advice is that your book has to be long enough to justify offering a paperback version.

Then Dirt Man sent me an e-book version to review and my worst fears were confirmed:

Secondly, this book is short. This is intentional, and not the byproduct of a lazy mind. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate brevity. Soul of wit, and all that. I’ve taken much more away from this book than I started with. It is meant to be a summation of sorts, a laying down of my tracks so that you may see where I have been, and hopefully profit from my mistakes. I have no desire to rattle on and on. Nor do I wish to entirely rehash what I’ve written about before. If I tread over familiar ground, it is inevitable and unavoidable.

I’m a fan of brevity as well, but the problem is that 32 pages/6,000 words is not long enough to justify End Game’s $6 price tag, especially considering that while the book is good, it’s not blow-your-brains-out-the-back-of-your-skull good. End Game is half memoir, half philosophical tract on the nature of masculinity, detailing Dirt Man’s journey from mediocrity to contentment:

She had told him that she loved him, that her marriage was over. He believed every word and was getting what he wanted, so what did transgressing a marriage matter? He pushed record on the video camera as he laid back on the bed. She kneeled before him in her cheerleader outfit, hair in tails, hands running up and down his thighs, “Are you gonna give me your sweet cream, Daddy?” Months later he would watch the video and get off watching her clean up every drop. Later still, he would destroy the videotape, unsure what place it could possibly hold in his life.

Each of the book’s chapters are organized similarly, with a philosophical rumination written in the first person followed by two brief autobiographical snippets written in the third person. It’s an interesting approach, which reinforces End Game’s nature as a philosophical tract rather than a memoir or a how-to guide. Dirt Man only breaks voice in the final chapter:

In the end, there are many more things that bring enjoyment, happiness and a feeling of living life to its fullest than sex with women. Sex has its place, and is an important part of a healthy and vibrant life, but I’ve seen more than one man abandon all of what else is good in life in the pursuit of that one end game. Myself included.

Much like his blog, Dirt Man takes you through his world in a careful, deliberate manner, without resorting to hyperbole or purple prose. His writing is like a lake on a calm day: stoic and powerful.

End Game is certainly unique in the canon of manosphere literature, but uniqueness isn’t a selling point on its own. After finishing it, I felt like I had read a flipbook that had had half its pages torn out; there’s enough left to tell you what happened, but not enough detail to make you feel fully satiated. And again, the book’s cost (at least for the e-book version; the economics of publishing a print book prevent charging too low a price) is a major sticking point for me. If the e-version was $2 or $3, I’d recommend it without reservation, but $6 is simply too much to charge for what is essentially a Kindle single.

The bottom line: if you enjoy Dirt Man’s writing, End Game is worth the buy, as its a nice summation of his worldview and beliefs. If you’re not already a fan of his, skip it.

Click here to buy End Game in paperbackClick here for the e-book editions.

Read Next: 30 Bangs: The Shaping of One Man’s Game from Patient Mouse to Rabid Wolf by Roosh V