Lovers of great literature stay away; there’s a new book on the market geared toward the common people, the good people, the cut-your-lip-on-a-can-of-Natty-Ice people. Tangle in Tijuana, which employs cutting edge second person narrative, is the first in the Miss Adventure series of books by Lilla and Nora Zuckerman.
It’s in the style of the choose your own adventure novels popular with kids, except instead of being an intrepid explorer or streetwise detective, you’re a fashion guru 20-something complete with a wild and crazy gal pal named Lani. And instead of zooming around uncharted planets or bashing smugglers, you’re stumbling through Tijuana looking for booze, sex and great deals on shiny objects.
It’s easy to dismiss the book at first sight – the cover image of a buxom blonde encircled by a donkey, a bottle of tequila, firecrackers and an explosion of Chiclets screams “Burn me! Burn me!” – but a second look reveals that you should always trust your first instinct.
But bear with me, join me as we romp through the streets of Tijuana together and see what trouble we can get into.
In chapter one, you hurtle down the freeway to Tijuana, hung over and a bit hesitant over leaving the country. Don’t worry though, Lani has a few words of encouragement. According to her, Tijuana isn’t “all burro shit and tapeworms … It’s practically Disneyland with a shitload of booze, but no scary cartoon creatures.” Somehow, you find this reassuring and make it to the border. Here comes your first choice: Walk across or drive across.
I’ve always figured why drive when you can walk, so let’s turn to page six. Here, we find that border is, “like Checkpoint Charlie, only with kids running around.” Finally in TJ, you can either go to the clubs or do some shopping. The idea of a club in the morning sounds interesting, so lets hop in the cab and head off to page 19.
Here, Lani applies glitter in the back of the cab. According to you, “In Lani’s world, it’s never too early for glitter.” Well, this isn’t Lani’s world and damnit, whatever is the right time for glitter, it sure as hell isn’t now. Let’s go back and do some shopping instead.
So, back to page six, then to page 11 for shopping, where you’re mobbed by little children selling Chiclets. The cultural sensitivity of the novel overwhelms me and I decide to drop $5 on some gum and head to page 135, where Lani and I enter a pharmacy to buy Viagra. According to the never ending wisdom of Lani, “With the power of Viagra, anybody can reach new dimensions.”
Hungry for such a mind-expanding spiritual experience, I buy some pills. Next, Lani and I meet up with this guy named Jesse, and my good friend slips a little blue orgasm pellet in my drink. Some friend; I guess I should’ve let her apply her stupid glitter.
On page 127, after fending off Jesse, I learn the interesting medical fact that Viagra gives women spontaneous orgasms, and I spend two pages wetting my panties with pleasure shivers. That’s a little too much for me, so I hitch a ride back to page 96 where I hook up with Jesse. Here, the sex is great – so good in fact I end up addicted to the drug for the rest of my life.
Damn. What a way to go.
Other possible endings include becoming the most “bad ass” immigration lawyer, snapping photos of El Chupacabra and winning a donkey in a drinking contest.
And if you work your way through all 34 endings, Miss Adventure #2, Beauty Queen Blowout, will be out in September.
Heaven help us.
Steven Ruszczycky is the Daily Nexus opinion editor.