Ron Swanson: Endearing Transdimensional Grouch

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living
by Nick Offerman
Reviewed by Steve(n)

We all have a little Ron Swanson in us. This burly possession of the soul can manifest itself in a variety of manners – be it through a healthy respect for personal privacy, an overwhelming fondness for woodworking, an uncanny love of beef and beef derivatives, or the staggering urge to commune with nature while lying low in a fortified bunker and sipping single malt scotch. Luckily, Nick Offerman – the “patient zero” of Ron Swansonism and the man who portrays this transdimensional grouch on television’s Parks and Recreation – has written a handy exorcism manual in regards to this specific, spiritual infestation for those odd occasions when it might become inconvenient to inadvertently win an eating contest or forge a set of wedding bands out of a candlestick you stole.

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living does many things (chronicle a farm boy’s ascent to theatrical fame, describe the proper technique for wooing a woman, wax rhapsodical on agrarian philosophy, etc.), but it refuses to pull any punches. This guide to life disguised as a memoir disguised as a book of nonsensical chicanery is as profound, thoughtful, and wise as it is entertaining. Interspersed throughout the narrative like beans planted in a field by a plucky child are essays and musings that sweep the spectrum from worldly to indignant to goofy so that, as we are hipped to the sort of jive that motivated a self-proclaimed “hick” to master the art of kabuki theatre, so too are we made privy to that same hick’s interpretation of the literature of Wendell Berry, the perceived hypocrisy of organized religion, and the lyrics to a song about burping. Whereas most people were unaware of the brilliance of Nick Offerman before his breakout role as Ron Swanson, Paddle Your Own Canoe will cement his place in the pantheon of humor and forever endear this man-bear uncomfortably into the giant, strapping heart of the world.

Signed copies of Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman are available while supplies last at BookPeople (and via bookpeople.com). Don’t be like Jerry. Take advantage of this momentous opportunity to live a delicious life!

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