The Canadian writer and actor Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall is a fine person to write a book about hangovers, not only because he’s a tenacious researcher but also because he’s willing to get thoroughly torn up on a consistent basis in colorful circumstances ... Reading his chronicle, Hungover: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for the Cure, has an effect not unlike recovering from food poisoning or slipping into a warm house on a frigid night. You turn the pages thinking, 'Thank God I don’t feel like that right now.' Or maybe, 'Thank God I’m not this guy' ... Bishop-Stall’s archival rooting-around is more interesting than his memoir through-line. Although he’s a lovable narrator, he’s also a pretty normal one, and his activities — planning a bachelor party, eating cheese, cat-sitting for his parents — don’t always rise to the level of book material. But that’s O.K. You expect a book about alcohol to ramble a little, and his commitment to the subject more than compensates.
Fans of Mary Roach will delight in Bishop-Stall's similar knack for collecting stories and anecdotes from a quirky cast of experts, as well as his similar proclivity for fascinating tangents ... a world tour of a party ... Reading Hungover is akin to watching The Hangover, a film Bishop-Stall mentions often. His sense of adventure and one-liners make for a similarly uproarious ride. His exploits are, not surprisingly, funnier observed than experienced. Bishop-Stall spent the better part of a decade on Hungover, and it shows; the work is expansive, beautifully wrought, occasionally sensitive and, at times, unwieldy. Yet it works. It's long, but it's an engaging journey that comes with the option to take a sip and a break instead of jumping in all the way. It might most responsibly be enjoyed with a tall glass of water, but, more fittingly, a martini--shaken.
Irreverent, well-oiled ... Bishop-Stall packs his book with humorous and enlightening asides about alcohol in literature ... Some of the author’s assertions are of questionable veracity ... But, as in most tales told over a pint, a little bending of the truth can be forgiven if the story’s good enough.