Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman [Book]

PaddleYourOwnCanoe by Nick OffermanGrowing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, 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, Illinois—�I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield”—to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-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 savory entrees.

A mix of amusing anecdotes, 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 smart phones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even hand craft (and paddle) their own canoes.

GOODREADS.COM

I absolutely must start this thing with an obviously needed disclaimer:

This is a book by actor Nick Offerman who portrays Ron Swanson on NBC’s Parks and Recreation.  This is NOT  a book written by the fictional character Ron Swanson who is portrayed by actor Nick Offerman on NBC’s Parks and Recreations.  Although the two characters are very similar in nature, it is Nick Offerman who has put a bit of his real self into the character that is Ron Swanson.  Both are absolutely wonderful people.  The only difference being that one is completely made up, and the other is one of the finest character actors and all around men to have ever graced this unworthy earth.  So there you have it.

With all that being said, I must also disclaim that I absolutely recommend choosing the option of the audiobook version of this brilliant memoir over a physical copy.  I rarely recommend this, but I can already say pretty surely that you are all going to be trying to hear Offerman’s rustic and manly voice in your head anyway, and you are probably going to screw it up.  Also, the audiobook also includes additions that you will not find in the physical copy of the book.  Go ahead and read both.  That’s what I did, and I enjoyed them both so god damned much.  Alright, enough with the disclaimers, let’s dig in to this thing.

Nick OffermanThis book.  This intriguing bit of guidance/memoir/humorist wit/so many different things…..was downright fucking brilliant.  Seriously.  I can’t remember the last time I felt so much inspiration, education, and down right bemusement since I learned about how lady parts worked in the 7th grade. It was incredible to listen to this amazing man’s man discuss everything from the joys of woodworking, the struggles of being a theatre kid in the 90’s in the Windy City, or just how wonderful a little thing like marijuana can actually turn out to be.  I, like the rest of you will or do, was consistently thinking about Ron Swanson the entire time I was reading this book.  Hell, we are only human, this is bound to happen.  But, to my utter delight, there were an equal amount of things that were rightfully unique and different front he Swanson persona that Offerman has created, as well as so many great things that were similar.  Which only even further highlights the genius of this man who has created a messiah of manliness on television who actually does mirror a bit of the manliness that he portrays in his everyday living.  A beautiful fucking combination if you ask this humble reader.

There is a shit ton of sage like advice to be found in this book, and almost all of it should not be taken lightly.  Offerman pulls no punches when he tells us his most sincere thoughts on anything from being an atheist to following our dreams whilst having something else to fall back on, and never taking yourself so damn serious that you forget that life is a short hot mess that we are forced to endure and make the best of no matter how many times we get kicked in the ass and knocked to the proverbial or physical ground.  This god damned man’s words are some of the most inspiring collection of vowels and consonants I have heard in such a long time.  Even when he is simply telling you a story, he is giving you some amazing advice on how to achieve the ultimate goal of having an absolutely “delicious life”.  He also managed to transfix me into the Chicago theatre world, which I had never really known or cared about, made me long for a time and place that I never knew about, but wanted to know just so damn bad!  And, oh by the way, the man was a break dancer?  I know this was outed on late night TV a while ago, but I didn’t see this unit after reading about it.  Sorry for spoiling such a surprise, but you should definitely YouTube that shit ASAP.  He still has it!

megan-mullally-and-nick-offerman-the-2011_3648831What is definitely most intriguing about this book are the thousands of words dedicated to Offerman’s love for his wife Megan Mullally.  I will admit that felt sort of silly for the fact that I had no idea that he was married to the chick from Will & Grace.  Of course, I am not as in touch with the YouTube and the P&R fan base as I should be, so I just took it as a nice surprise from a gentle giant.  I didn’t care, and still don’t, that his wife was sort of a big deal in the 90’s and when he first met her.  In fact, I loved hearing him talk about how much he loved the woman who was is soul mate in the chapters prior to his all out love bathing with words he did.  I now presume that most readers were already supposed to know who she was whilst listening to Nick speak so highly of this wonderful woman.  I am actually sort of glad I didn’t, because I still only really know anything about her based on how he describes her.  And he does this in such a wonderful way.  I can only wish that I could ponder up about 15 percent of the praise in writing for my own wife that he does in this book.  He is a lucky man, and she is a lucky gal.  And yes, I feel the same way about my own relationship.  I would have never known until reading this book, but there could be a case that Offerman’s career only exists because of his marriage to the Emmy Award nominated actress.  But this is such a horse shit idea that Offerman doesn’t even try to debate out, yet clearly shows how this is definitely said horse shit.  I guess the fact that I knew Nick Offerman by name and not is lovely wife at first reading is a good indication of how wrong this idealism would be.  So, I am happy that it isn’t a big deal.  I am just happy that these two wonderful people have found each other and continue to spread their joy to us all.

Overall, I’m not sure I will be able to find a better book that this one in the coming year, or the other years to follow.  This was about as perfect of  a book as we will ever know.  It is filled with wonderful stories with an incredible range of topics.  There is advice that definitely should be taken (although I am not sure I have the patience for woodwork) and so many different trends of life to take heed of.  Basically, if you love Ron Swanson, you are absolutely going to adore Nick Offerman.

 

Note: 2014 is the first year for book reviews at Trainwreck’d Society.  We will be making a valiant effort to read and review at least 100 books.  This is review #9.  Be sure to stay in touch and be on the lookout for further reviews throughout 2014.  Be sure to let us know if we are falling behind.  For a complete list of book reviews, click HERE.  Enjoy!

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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