A Belated Book Review: Paddle Your Own Canoe

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When I watch ‘Parks and Rec’, I think this guy needs to write a book every time Ron Swanson speaks.  Preferably an autobiography or a series of personal-philosophy essays.  Ron certainly has an intriguing past (and an intriguing stache).  Unfortunately, this book will never happen because he is a fictional character and no one in reality resembles him.  Even if he did, we’d never find him.  That guy’s too private to be found that easily. Can’t google maps that dude.

However, the actor who plays Ron Swanson- Nick Offerman- has written a book, and this is perhaps the next best thing.  Just like Mindy Kaling’s Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? appeals to the lovable melodramatic in each of us, just like Tina Fey’s Bossypants appeals the the clever, kick-ass media-wizard in each of us- Paddle Your Own Canoe even makes a suburban, vegetarian girl such as myself feel like an outdoorsy, red-meat-destroying, wood-working, explicit-exploiting comic genius.

For the record (and obviously), I love this book.  How DOES one go about a book review without bias?  This is not the review with which I will experiment with that. I love this book so much I might sign up for shop  next semester, or at least learn how to use a hammer.  I love this book so much I will probably read it to my future children one day- before they have any comprehension skills.  Otherwise, that’d be a mistake.  I mean, this guy uses the word jacka** within the first two pages.  It’s not like Disney would adapt this anytime soon.

Paddle Your Own Canoe takes the reader in a very entertaining journey through the life of Nick Offerman:  his small-town childhood in Illinois, his Dawson’s Creek obsession when he was down on his luck career-wise (*this is especially ironic because James Van Der Beek would come to steal a role from Offerman several years later!*), his passion for the theater… Not to mention his description of how giddy he becomes when he receives a Parks script and compares reading new Ron Swanson lines to Christmas every week.

From his personal philosophies on religion and  gay marriage and to his personal experiences with priests, actors and parents, he really does dish out advice for truly delicious living- as he promised in his intro.  The key to living deliciously, it seems, is to work your ass off when your working and leave time to do all the equally important other stuff.  Not to mention that he has some very clever drawings and diagrams strewn about the pages of his book: such as he drawing of his bearded self doing various breakdance moves like the “grumpy dervish” and the “pigfucker.”

For the record, I know nothing of breakdancing.  So for all I know, these could be real.

For anyone looking for a truly delicious read, I would strongly recommend Paddle Your Canoe.  One man, one mustache, one filthy vocabulary, and one goddamn impressive work ethic.  Not to mention one entertaining sense of humor.


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