For many months, Steve Hofstetter, the author of Student Body Shots, begged, pleaded, and groveled for us to review his book. He dangled what was the ultimate carrot: a free, autographed copy for a short amount of time reading and reviewing the book. What was there to lose? Apparently, the short amount of time it took to read it.

The concept of Student Body Shots is fairly original – different little nuggets about different aspects of college life – classes, parties, frats, bars – grouped together by category. The book promises “a sarcastic look” at the college experience, but for how simple a concept that may be, the book somehow overpromised and underdelivered.

Many of the book’s jokes, comments and observations have a “no duh” feeling to them – the kind of statement that would make you smack your friend for even making those remarks. The observations are bland, and overgeneralized, to try to appeal to the average college-goer.

Instead of being drunk with happiness after reading the book, I feel like I wasted my time. Doing a body shot off a 70-year-old professor would be more fun then these so-called body shots.

The book seems to try too hard, unusual considering the author’s credentials. He’s written for Maxim and ESPN magazines, has a popular column on, and was even able to get a forward written by Rider Strong, the “best friend” character on Boy Meets World.

But even the introduction is misplaced. I wasn’t too interested in reading a celebrity’s gripes about how his college experience was changed by fame. If you wanted a real college experience, you should’ve held off on your dream of acting until after the age of 22. Besides, we all know where most child actors go after their big hit series. His college experience is not what others went through, and it just doesn’t mesh with the book, however strong or weak the introduction holds up on its own.

The endorsements on the back of the book apparently are from readers of the website for the most part, extolling the witty repartee of this 23-year-old author. I, for one, did not share in the sentiment. The book’s humor was weak, the nuggets of advice were worthless, and the little observations he made were something that everybody’s seen and really don’t think twice about. He didn’t add anything to my view of the college experience.

He did make me wonder about the strength of a college education. He went to Columbia, which is a reputable school. But he couldn’t always spell his school’s name right. Seeing him spell his alma mater’s name Coulmbia was painful. Equally painful is spelling a very popular Star Wars character’s name as Princess Leah. Oops. No matter how good of a journalist or writer you are, it always helps to have a good editor back you up (thanks Keith!). This book had no such thing.

There were no good illustrations, not even a good layout – box on top, mini-paragraphs below. The book was organized like a below-average edition of my high school’s newspaper. But even the high school paper is more readable, typos and all.

Ultimately, the one benefit about reading the book, those small 100 or so pages of mediocrity, was that it was, indeed, autographed like the author promised. When the highest bidder wins on my eBay auction of the autographed copy, at least I’ll feel like I got something for my time.

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