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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman~★★★★

Author: Nick Offerman
Title: Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Genre: Non-Fiction

Book Jacket: "'I am a jackass living in America and living surprisingly well. . . . I come by it honest. I am your average meat, potatoes, and corn-fed human male, with a propensity for smart-assery, who has managed to make a rewarding vocation out of, essentially, making funny faces and falling down. I have also exhibited some tool skills and an inclination for eating delicious meatstuffs. I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield in the village of Minooka, Illinois, where I spent a lot of time learning to use intoxicants, chasing girls, and screwing around in the woods. I learned the word nonconformist in fourth grade and immediately announced that I would grow up to become one.'
Have you ever paddled a canoe and been besotted by the natural beauty of the river? Or experienced the savory rewards of a job well done, especially if that job is grilling something's flesh? If so, Nick Offerman's humorous fulminations on life, manliness, meat, and much more is for you. Or your man. Or your aspiring circus clown, thespian, or biped. 
After all, when it comes to growing a robust moustache, masticating red meat, or wooing a woman, who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking--he runs his own woodshop--Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman's childhood in small-town Minooka to his risque theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor, and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his wife, Megan Mullally. It also offers hard-bitten battle strategies in the arenas of manliness, love, style, religion, woodworking, and outdoor recreation, among many other palatable entrees.
A mix of amusing anecdotes and opinionated lessons and rants sprinkled with offbeat gaiety, Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smartphones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even handcraft (and paddle) their own canoes."

Taryn's Review: Like so many, I was first introduced to Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson in the delightful television comedy, Parks and Rec. Ron Swanson is truly a man's man, with his burly good-looks, piercing scowl, and uber-masculine pastimes. But loving Ron Swanson doesn't mean that one knows Nick Offerman, the man behind Swanson, so Offerman offered an inside peek into his life, both past and present, as well as advice that he thinks will make one's life rather delicious to live. Before one picks up this book, it should be noted that this book was not written for the delicate folks out there. Offerman has very strong opinion on Christianity (he doesn't believe in it and considers the Bible to be a work of fiction), government, drugs, and other topics. Most of them are counter to mainstream ideologies, so be prepared.

The book reflected on Offerman's upbringing in rural Illinois and how many of the activities he partook in as a youth shaped him today (woodworking, for example). And like so many other Midwestern boys, Offerman was often getting into shenanigans with his cousin or friends. Once college rolled around, the rambunctiousness of Offerman didn't slow down and was mostly amplified by easy access to alcohol and drugs. I enjoyed reading about Offerman's journey from college student to stage actor to television actor. Offerman's suggestions on how one can enrich one's life were rather amusing to read. Make a card for someone from scratch and, as Offerman puts it, get ready for some coitus as a sweet reward! He also reasoned on why men should open doors for women and his advice was solid!

One thing I love about Nick Offerman is his relationship and history with his wife Megan Mullally (aka Karen Walker from Will & Grace and Tammy 2 on Parks and Rec). They are so adorable to watch together. He spends a chapter on Megan and there is no doubt that he is still enamored by her. They can be rather vulgar together (e.g. see the song he wrote her in the book), so if you like that sense of humor, you will love them as a couple. I recently saw an interview where they joked they were doing a play together and it was to be called The Summer of 69 ("Minus the comma!" Mullally had chimed with a twinkle in her eye). I just love them!

Overall, enjoyable read if you're an Offerman fan. His sense of humor is dry and biting and his writing isn't sugar coated. He has a killer vocabulary. The book's title is a bit misleading as the book felt more like a memoir with advice tidbits thrown in. At the end of the day, Ron Swanson wouldn't be Ron Swanson without the history of the ever-intriguing Nick Offerman.

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