Customer Reviews for

Vertical: the follow-up to Sideways

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
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  • Posted January 1, 2011

    Exceeds the Original

    The author of the quintessential wine novel/movie "Sideways" takes the reader on an unexpected journey from Southern California to Oregon and beyond in this "follow-up" to the original. Times have change for Miles and Jack. It's seven years later, as the product description reads, and Miles has become a success and Jack, essentially, a failure. Nothing is sure in their world anymore. In the interim Miles's mother has had a stroke, but now wants to be with her sister in Wisconsin instead of wasting away in an assisted-living facility. Thus begins a road novel (a movie?) that is quite unlike anything I was expecting. Sure, there's wine -- and plenty of it -- but Miles seems to be having more problems dealing with success than he did with failure. But the real surprise is Pickett moving the focus away from Miles and Jack to Miles and his mother, and the result is emotionally riveting and, ultimately, devastating. I have to admit, I wept openly at the end of this very, very fine novel. Kudos to Pickett for not repeating himself.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2010

    If you are a Sideways fan - buy the book.

    This was a great sequel novel to Sideways! I devoured all 400 pages and enjoyed the nuances that Rex bought to the characters. I do see this as a movie, it will be hilarious and very poignant. As Miles would say "nicely done".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011


    Fantastic! I could not put it down. If you loved Sideways then Vertical brings the story of Miles full circle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2011

    Taking the Iconic Original to New Heights

    If you ever wanted to continue riding along with Miles and Jack as they drink fine wines and sleep with sultry women, "Vertical" definitely delivers. But Rex Pickett doesn't merely retread the same terrain as he did in "Sideways", he sets his story on existential fire, deconstructs it, and then boldly shoves it into uncharted emotional territory for himself and his alter-ego, Miles Raymond. If a "sequel" is technically just more of something, then "Vertical" does not qualify. Life is drastically different for Miles this time around, who is reeling from his success as a writer who's book became a hot movie (sound familiar?). In "Sideways" Miles was dogged by his failures, now Miles is dogged by his success and its trappings: drowning in all the Pinot and p---y he could ever hope for. Like Icarus before him, Miles is flying too close to the sun and his proverbial wings are melting. Between chugging from spit-buckets before cheering crowds and engaging in whirlwind threesomes, he's quickly losing touch with reality. A reality that becomes impossible to ignore when he chooses to rescue his ailing mother from her nursing home. His mission: to emcee a hedonistic wine festival in Oregon en route to depositing his mother in Wisconsin to live out her final days. Easier said than done, to say the least.

    Yes, Miles and Jack are back, loaded up on wine and hitting the West Coast asphalt (along with an eternally-stoned Filipina caretaker and his mother's pesky dog). Only now, Jack is the loser going nowhere fast with his life (divorced, jobless) and Miles is the wild womanizer, a role-reversal that offers much insight into both characters, and a lot of laughs. Once again, Miles sets out on a road trip with the best of intentions, only to have them backfire in all the right ways, setting an unpredictable domino-effect into motion that ultimately makes him a better person in the end. If "Sideways" was about sending off a best friend in style to get married, then "Vertical" is about sending off a parent to die with some semblance of dignity. In both cases, Miles is undergoing a personal transformation despite focusing all his efforts on others. Like life, "Vertical" is not a comedy nor a drama -- it is decidedly both, and with potent effect. I laughed out loud on several occasions (the ever-incorrigible Jack continues to get himself into horrible-yet-hilarious predicaments) and cried twice toward the end. The author is able to provoke this spectrum of emotions because he realizes that at the end of every lustful bacchanal, there is an existential hangover that must be dealt with. These days, it's hard to find fictional prose that has the courage to embrace subject matter pertaining to actual human beings. Let's face it: when our art is designed purely for escapism, we ultimately end up escaping our own humanity. Rex Pickett knows this all too well, and delivers -- more than just a sequel -- a bittersweet meditation on Fame, Friendship and Family that is not to be missed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

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    Posted October 15, 2012

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    Posted December 22, 2011

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