Ebook review: Three for Ship: A Swan Song to Dartmouth Beer Pong (by Chrispus Knight)

All in all I have spent nine years in Universities which equates to almost a quarter of my life. Six of those years I was a student picking up a couple of degrees and three as a postdoctoral researcher. So University life is no stranger to me. It was a melting pot of freedom, money, and real independence for the first time. Not the independence of borrowing a parent’s car but the independence of real decision making about everything from getting out of bed to what to drink in the bar, who to speak to and what lectures to go to. Combine this with the one time in life where hangovers are infrequent and bearable even after late nights and the fact that the metabolism runs so hot that over eating is seemingly nearly impossible and what you end with is a student able to function whilst breaking all of the rules of normalcy. It is a fabulous time, from the day when you are left all alone in an unfamiliar room with no acquaintances anywhere nearby, right up to the day when you put on a funny gown and pick up the piece of paper it was all really about. It is fabulous but not easy and certainly not a walk in the park. The freedom and choices and independence allows for chaotic outcomes and many times through those few short years is it necessary to look up and check that you are on the right heading.
The reason for the lengthy introduction is to highlight that the Ebook I review today has caused me to relive my own experiences at University and as such has been a powerful story as well as a truly engaging one.

About the author: “Crispus Knight is a writer from Brooklyn, NY. His previous accomplishments include the creation of a semi-religious doctrine called, “The Book of Plum”. When his aspirations of becoming a cult leader seemed unlikely, Mr. Knight shifted his attention to writing novels. His first book, “Three For Ship”, chronicles the rise and fall of Balls–his misanthropic alter ego born in the fraternity basements of Dartmouth College.”
From the dust cover: “In the darkened, fetid basements of Dartmouth College’s fraternities and sororities, the sacred ritual of Beer Pong has been practiced with a curious passion by generations of inebriated ivy-league students. A culture of binge-drinking, debauched parties, drunken feats-of-strength, and booting and rallying has arisen around Pong and is embraced by much of the campus as inextricably tied to the grossly misrepresented, abstract ideal of the Dartmouth man or woman. Like countless others before and after, I surrendered myself entirely to this lifestyle in pursuit of some obscured larger goal, improbably becoming in the process a basement-dwelling legend, christened “Balls” by the Chi-Gamma Epsilon brotherhood.

Three for Ship: A Swan Song to Dartmouth Beer Pong tells the uncensored story of Balls’ transgressions, his obsession with Ship, and the nightly battles I waged against this usurper on the Pong tables of the notorious Chi-Gam basement. In this hardcore, niche drinking game, I had finally found my passion on campus and now defined myself above all as a consummate Ship Professional, while simultaneously rejecting the larger world around me as I disappeared into a fog of blackouts, vomiting incidents, hangovers and skipped classes. Ship, by its very nature, had incited a terrible rampage of self-destructive tendencies and unapologetic nihilism that crashed violently into what had until that point been a promising young academic career.”

My Ebook review: Being from the wrong side of the pond and having no idea about the game of Pong or the Greek system I am far from on home territory reading this book. Even though there is even a part of me that wants to say “tutt, tutt!” to the various nonsense described in this work, but I cannot because that would be silly given that the book is so much more than that.
This is a story of choices, some are actively taken and some are passively imposed upon oneself over years of re-enacting the same events night after night.
What I cannot get away from, though, is how true to life this is even of the University of my own youth many years ago and a continent away. One of the major challenges of University really does seem to be the personal journey to arrive at a point where something matters enough to work for it and the problem is that not all of those journeys go straight towards career friendly or even constructive outcomes. But this would be a four star review if the book was supposed to be a cautionary tale. It is not, or at least not only. It is a visually written, intelligently composed and compelling reading.
Sure, it is vulgar, nasty and debauched in places but there is nothing in here that the average student cannot relate to. In fact there is a noteworthy lack of `antisocial’ content and the whole book handles people with dignity somehow. All of this combined makes this a book that cannot be put down, it really is that well written.

Did I like it: absolutely, this is a thought provoking book in so many ways.


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