Book Review: Vertical by Rex Pickett

To view a complete list of all the books I have reviewed on The Academic Wino, visit my Wine Book Library page and browse!

This book review is nearly a year in the making, as technically I bought the book almost a year ago! Of course, I had a long list of other books ahead of it I needed to review first, and am just now getting to this one! Phew!

The book I reviewed for today is one of the view wine novels that have fallen into my lap so far. I enjoy mixing up my usual scientific and otherwise nonfiction books with an entertaining novel, and this book is certainly one that I would recommend to the wine lover who wants to be entertained for entertainments sake!

Vertical by Rex Pickett is the awaited sequel to his novel Sideways, which most if not all of you know was the inspiration for the movie sharing the same name. I purchased this book during the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon in 2012, as Rex was the keynote speaker for the conference and I wanted not only the book but also an autograph! He gave a great talk full of stories and entertaining anecdotes of his successes and failures as a writer. Naturally, I wanted to pick up the sequel, Vertical, and crack it open as soon as I could (which happened to be nearly a year later, but we’ll pretend that didn’t happen).


Vertical starts off about 7 years later in Miles life, after he made it big by writing a best-selling novel which made him very wealthy after a movie was made based off that book. The Miles we knew back in Sideways is finally rolling in the dough, up to his elbows in women (literally), and is really playing up his celebrity status in true “rock and roll” style. His buddy Jack is back as well, though in the past 7 years life has not been quite as kind as they have been for Miles. Finally, during the last few years Miles’ mother had a stroke, as well as a series of other rather dramatic health issues and is now miserably camped out in a nursing home that she so desperately wants to leave.

Wanting to honor his mother’s wishes to leave the nursing home and take her to live with her sister in Wisconsin, Miles and Jack team up along with his mother’s nurse aide for a wild, over-the-top road tripping adventure through much of the west coast all the way to Wisconsin. The situations Miles and company are put in throughout the novel are often hilarious and at times ridiculously unbelievable (but hey-anything can happen in a novel!). Several times I laughed out loud while saying “whaaaaat??” during several of the outrageous scenes in the book. You’ll want to pick up Vertical to see for yourself what kind of shenanigans Miles and Jack get into, as I don’t wish to through any spoilers in this review!

Vertical by Rex Pickett is a fantastically entertaining book, with exciting and graphic descriptions of debaucherous jaunts and twists and turns that will make your jaw drop! If you loved Sideways, you’ll love Vertical! Next time you’re in the mood for a humorous and enthralling book to pair with your glass of wine, pick up Vertical and prepare to be entertained!


2 comments for “Book Review: Vertical by Rex Pickett

  1. WineKnurd
    May 11, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Hey Becca, any word if they are making Vertical into a movie?

    • Becca
      May 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

      I’m not sure! I read an interview with Rex Pickett from 2011 that mentioned he wrote a screenplay, but I don’t know if it’s progressed any further than that. I’d love to see it if they do make one!

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