In honor of our friend Adam Reed’s recent appearance at the Decatur Book Festival, lets give him some love with a review of his book How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written, which Adam penned under the name of our hero, Sterling Archer. For those of you who have been in a cave or exploring Mars for the last couple of years, Archer is Adam’s award-winning animated comedy series on FX and is hilarious — I repeat — hilarious. Not hilarious like, say, maybe Dora the Explorer, but adult and inappropriately hilarious.
Sterling Archer works for ISIS, a private espionage firm run by his mother Mallory and populated with a cast of loveable characters burdened with a variety of issues. Archer himself is about the most arrogant character you will ever love. And despite his arrogance and self-centered nature, and the way both constantly cloud his judgment, he somehow always manages to save the day, even if by accident. Which further feeds his vanity.
If you like Archer, you will like this book. If you don’t like Archer, stop reading because we can’t be friends anymore. Everything in this book ties back perfectly to Archer’s character and his methodologies and his way of thinking, and even his trouble with proper grammar at times. The book is broken up into sevel sections – ”How to Spy”, “How to Drink”, “How to Style”, ”How to Dine”, “How to Women”, and “How to Pay for It”, and each one is stereotypical Sterling Archer. Not to say that it’s not an original and entertaining spin on him; rather, it’s pretty amazing how Adam managed to stay on topic but not get redundant. Very few things that are covered by Archer in the book are surprising (if you know him), but none of them are simply re-hashing of what you think you know. Example, from the “How to Spy” section’s chapter entitled “Weaponry”:
I could basically just start typing a list of nouns. Because if you have been trained properly, anything can be used as a weapon. Take my finely crafted Walther PPK, for example: at some point it will run out of bullets. But when it does, guess what: it weighs twenty-three ounces. Now guess what else weighs about twenty-three ounces. I’ll tell you: a framing hammer. Now guess what you wouldn’t want to get smashed in the teeth with. I’ll tell you: either of those.
That’s just a random example, but is absolutely representative of what you’ll find in this book. Go get yourself five copies — one for the nightstand, one for the upstairs bathroom, one for the downstairs bathroom, one for the coffee table, and one for the briefcase. Oh, and buy another three copies to give as gifts. Your friends will love you for it. And if they don’t, then you shouldn’t be friends with them.