Round Ireland With A Fridge – Tony Hawks
Have you ever made a drunken bet? Worse still, have you ever tried to win one? In attempting to hitchhike round Ireland with a fridge, Tony Hawks did both, and his foolhardiness led him to one of the best experiences of his life. Joined by his trusty traveling companion/domestic appliance, he made his way from Dublin to Donegal, from Sligo through Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Wexford, Wicklow—and back again to Dublin. In their month of madness, Tony and his fridge met a real prince, a bogus king, and the fridge got christened. They surfed together, entered a bachelor festival, and one of them had sex without the other knowing. And unexpectedly, the fridge itself became a momentary focus for the people of Ireland.
Review: You know that tiny voice in your head that tells you to DNF a book? The voice that constantly reminds you that life’s too short to read bad stories? I really need to learn to listen to that voice.
Round Ireland with a Fridge is the memoir of British comedian Tony Hawks. I’d never heard of Tony Hawks (maybe because I’m not British), but the book sounded delightfully pointless. I’m always up for a good idiotic adventure. Also, I’d love to go to Ireland someday. I thought I could live vicariously through the book.
“The more foolish, illogical or surreal one's actions were perceived to be (and mine surely fell into one of these categories), the wider the arms of hospitality were opened in salutation.” – Round Ireland with a Fridge
The story starts with Tony waking up hungover and discovering a note from his friend. While they were drunk the night before, the friend bet Tony 100 Pounds that he couldn’t hitchhike around the circumference of Ireland with a refrigerator. Tony didn’t want to lose a bet that he didn’t remember making, so he bought a mini fridge (which cost 130 Pounds), and set off around Ireland. I assumed that hilarity would ensue.
It didn’t. The memoir is extremely slow and repetitive. It’s about a guy with a bad hangover who spends a month dragging a fridge from pub to pub in Ireland. In the process, he goes surfing and has sex in a doghouse. That’s it. At first the adventure is amusing, but there are only so many stories of Stupid Things Drunk Strangers Do In Bars that I can take. I quickly stopped caring about Tony and his fridge. I know that the point of his journey was to be pointless, but I just got angry at him. He gets to spend a month in Ireland. He chooses to spend it getting drunk. You can get drunk anywhere in the world. At least do something mildly interesting on your trip!
I didn’t click with Tony’s personality. He’s a comedian, but I didn’t find him funny. He’s condescending to the Irish people, and it’s a blow to his ego when they don’t recognize him as the “Fridge Man.” Most of his rides are the result of being on a radio show. He complains when he actually has to hitchhike. He also likes to pick out his “favorite” girl at a pub and hit on her relentlessly, even if she’s there with a date. Tony is probably nice in real life, but in the book, he comes across as an entitled, conceited person. I didn’t understand his humor. Maybe he’s trying to be self-deprecating?
I do completely agree with this quote, though:
“I'm against the death penalty. I believe that it is a mistake to show that killing people is wrong by killing people. However I'm not against the random killing of people who snore.” – Round Ireland with a Fridge
This book wasn’t for me. I would have saved myself a lot of disappointment if I had listened to my instincts and taken it back to the used bookstore instead of forcing myself to finish it.