Dec 042002
 
Authors: Eric Patton, Alicia Leonardi

Eric Patton:

Have any of you read the book “Life’s Little Instruction Book?” If you have or have not, this new book by 22-year-old Columbia graduate Steve Hofstetter is life’s little instruction book for the college student. Okay, it is not all instruction or advice, a lot of the book is merely observation by Hofstetter but just the same, it seems that it is something everyone could relate to.

Hofstetter gives us a very general overview of what almost everyone that has ever been in college would already know, only Hofstetter had the foresight to publish it and make money on it.

He gives us his general observations about everything from moving into the dorm, meeting new people, fashion, food, sports, Greek life, parties, dating and rejection, classes and everything else that poses itself to a college student.

It is very possible for people to take this book the wrong way with several comments Hofstetter makes, but he even says in the title, this is a sarcastic look at college life. It should all be taken in the spirit of humor and if it is, there are many anecdotes that are very funny.

And when reading this, do not think that he is completely biased toward his own situation. He fully recognizes how shallow men are by saying, “Hey guys – next time you say ‘I really like you, but I can’t handle a relationship,’ think of how dumb you sound. This is my loose translation; ‘You’re too nice. I need a slut so when I cheat on her, she won’t mind as much since she’s doing the same thing.'”

Several other times he notes how very dumb us men are, but at least he does not try to hide it. He laughs at it and all other situations as well, and asks his readers to do the same. It would be a horrible situation if nobody could laugh at themselves and our shared predicament we call college. It is light, it is sarcastic, it is crude at times and at times it is so honest some people do not even want to acknowledge it.

If you want my advice, give this book a quick read through. There will definitely be something that pertains to you and something you experienced in college.

Alicia Leonardi:

Steve Hofstetter, weekly columnist for the oft-visited site of silliness, collegehumor.com has released his first full-length book. “Student Body Shots: a sarcastic look at the best 4-6 years of your life” spotlights numerous shallow yet essential aspects of the college experience.

Wisely, the book skips over most of the significant stuff that happens to every college student individually and makes college truly unforgettable. Hofstetter chooses wisely to mainly critique surface issues; poking fun at the really big issues in life just isn’t nearly as fun.

“Student Body Shots” does a marvelous job of skimming over the bare bones “essentials” of campus life that college students, at least those who do not live under rocks, are bound to experience at one point or another.

Despite paying exorbitant amounts of money for an Ivy League education and membership in a fraternity, Hofstetter, who graduated last year from Columbia University, says his experiences are largely universal.

Collegehumor.com’s nearly unanimous and unabashedly positive reactions to Hofstetter’s work, mean that either college students are better liars than ever before or that somebody, somewhere is paying attention to the self described white boy from New York and agrees.

“Not all the stuff happened to me, it happened around me. It would have happened anywhere I went,” Hofstetter said. “I think most people would have this take on college, I just happened to write it down.”

The general studies major considers himself a writer and to pay the bills he freelances for publications such as Maxim and ESPN magazine.

While there are kernels of truth in Hofstetter’s book, certain portions are just plain sexist. The insulting “Your Fat Friend,” fully recognizes its offensive nature by starting with a disclaimer that states that it is not meant to offend “fun” fat women, simply those poor unfortunate souls who happen to be fat and also have “bad personalities.” On the flip side yet still equally offensive, Hofstetter’s “Constant Total Asset Theorem” blatantly states that as beauty increases intelligence decreases proportionally.

Is Hofstetter being insensitive and objectifying women? Yes, however this discrepancy in gender experience is fairly inevitable considering Hofstetter is simply a college-aged male vocalizing observations made during stereotypical collegiate activities.

“For anyone to pretend that the stuff that I wrote about in the book doesn’t happen in college is incredibly na/ve,” he said.

Hofstetter became employed by collegehumor.com due to a stroke of complete and utter luck because they were the only ones who responded when he was sending his work out to online publishers and he got involved when collegehumor.com was still in its early stages of development.

While fraternities may traditionally have a reputation for being heavy on the party scene and apathetic to just about everything else, Hofstetter said that his fraternity experience let him see more of the college life than he ever would have otherwise and said it was one of his favorite college experiences.

“I was in a frat with a bunch of ridiculously successful people and they are probably the reason I was motivated enough to go and get a book published in the first place.”

Hofstetter is currently working on “Student Body Shots: Another Round,” a sequel to his first book. He has completed another novel of a more somber nature; however, he has not released it yet because he believes that anyone who likes his current material is not ready for anything serious out of him yet.

All 99 pages of “Student Body Shots” are available for $11.95 from trafford.com, amazon.com and of course observationalhumor.com, the site where Hofstetter archives his columns. Much of the book’s material is reprinted from Hofstetter’s past columns, all of which are available online at no charge for the financially challenged.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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