The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale by Neal Cassidy
Thank you to author Neal Cassidy for providing me with a copy of his novel in exchange for this honest review.
If you follow my reviews or any of my social medias there are probably a few things you already know about me. First and foremost, I’m a feminist. I am one of those crazy people that believes women are human beings and should be treated as such.
I’ve made a vow to myself that when a book is what I would consider to be anti-feminist I will tear it apart in the review. This book is anti-feminist. We’ll get into that, don’t you worry.
But the second thing you might know about me is that I love memes. I love them so much that in addition to scrolling through them constantly on reddit, I make them. For reddit, for my instagram, for my friends.
So it was quite offensive to me when this book, The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale, thought I wouldn’t notice when it stole all of its humor from very popular memes.
Does that sound so ridiculous that you don’t believe me? Here’s a passage from the book:
The main sentence to focus on is, “This is something I do when I go running outside as well. I’ll randomly pick a car, race it to a tree, sign, or curb, telling myself that if I don’t get there first, I’ll die.”
Here are some memes that have been around for a good long time that I quickly found through a google search:
It’s been a popular theme for memes for quite some time. And this author attempted to pass it off as his own thought. This was not the only time this happened in this book, it happened several times and I guess he just didn’t think this meme lord would notice.
Many of you may not think this is quite the same as serious plagiarism but it does fit the bill. He took other people’s words and ideas and used them as his own. This is the opposite of creativity.
This alone is enough for me to be very unhappy with this book but there is definitely more.
The “plot” follows a group of young adults on their final weekend before leaving college. The perspectives shift between them as the weekend progresses and they get very high, very drunk, and don’t do much of anything besides thinking about getting high, getting drunk, and getting laid.
It’s basically what would happen if Richard Linklater made Waking Life about people who watched porn instead of going to Philosophy 101.
All of the characters in this book are losers, and not in a charming way. They are all the reasons I’m glad I’m not 20 anymore. I could almost smell the mix of pot smoke and unwashed laundry coming off the pages.
It’s not a time that I romanticize but the author seems to be desperately trying to hold on to a youth that is long gone. Putting himself shirtless on the cover is an obvious grasp at an ego boost that is harder and harder to come by.
I addressed some of my concerns with the author before writing this review and he blew my criticisms off as saying “it’s just fiction.” Bruh, you’re on the cover and the back cover clearly states, “After years of an undiscerning lifestyle, Neal Cassidy decided to put some of his experiences into his first novel, The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale.” So no, it’s not just fiction and I do feel justified in projecting the values of the book onto him.
That brings us to the sexism.
Whenever feminist reviewers talk about “the male gaze” I always kind of dismissed it. Male authors are going to have different views and yes men will sometimes ogle pretty ladies. I’m bi, I sometimes ogle pretty ladies too.
However, this book really amps up the male gaze to an unhealthy degree. Every character in the book, including the straight female characters, ogle women at every chance they get. In ways that seem unhealthy and almost dangerous.
When women aren’t present to ogle, the men sit around and talk about “hot chicks.” When the men are by themselves they watch porn or flip through a hot chick slideshow in their minds. In fact, there is a graphic 4 page description of one of the male characters watching porn, snapchatting with one of his students (ew), and jerking off to completion. 4 pages.
I asked around while I was reading this book because I began to think maybe I am just out of touch with the workings of the cis straight male mind. But I got some confirmation that most adult males do not actually think about sex every seven seconds. Turns out most men are better than that and it’s a harmful stereotype.
I also had to ask some questions to my female friends. Cassidy seems to have a dramatic misunderstanding of how adult women think and behave. The biggest offense being that an adult woman, who owns vibrators and dildos, would ever opt to use a cucumber to masturbate. And then leave that cucumber in the shower for her roommate to find. And then regularly pull muscles while masturbating.
Now, I don’t want to speak for all women but I can speak for myself and what I’ve experienced in society. One, sex toys designed for that purpose are going to be cleaner and far more easily used than produce. Two, no decent roommate is leaving any sex toys in communal spaces, that’s foul. And three, I don’t know what kind of weird solo act this girl was putting on but I’ve never put myself in a position so uncomfortable I’d be likely to pull a muscle.
In addition to all of these bizarre depictions of women we have a few other offences. The women who are actual characters in the book are the following stereotypes: virgin nerd, total slut, grandma slut, and overbearing girlfriend.
Eventually a foreign size 0 dream girl also gets added into the mix. These aren’t real people. And to make it even worse, overbearing girlfriend and foreign size 0 dream girl are never even given names. They are solely identified by the man who takes ownership of them.
The book also mocks heavier girls and even manages to slip the words “midget transvestite stripper” into the mix. C’mon, that was even low for 1990s comedy standards.
I 100% would have not finished this book had it not been given to me by the author for this review. But I am glad I got to the completely unexpected ending which would have worked for me in most other circumstances but not for this book.
nearly all of the characters die in a mass shooting at the train station
But I didn’t care about any of the characters so I didn’t care about that. Also, the heroes of the book were completely unbelievable. The biggest male fantasy of this book is that any of these stoned idiots would be good in a crisis.
Well, I think that brings me to the end of this rant, er uh, review. It’s not a good book, I don’t know who the audience for it would be, I strongly do not recommend it.
1/5 red solo cups 🥤
This is where I typically include an affiliate link to buy the novel and provide me with a small commission. Don’t buy this book. There will be no link.
Check out my full rant at Anti-Feminist Literature, A Rant and a Promise
Also view In Defense of Bad Reviews
And for a better take on toxic masculinity read Adjustment Day