If you’re like me, you’re probably familiar with Nick Offerman from his role as Ron Swanson from the hilarious series Parks and Recreation. And having had some good luck with reading books from other funny people closely associated with other comedies (Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, Ray Romano), I picked up Paddle Your Own Canoe with a couple of expectations.
One is that the novel would be funny. And the other is that while it said Nick Offerman on the cover, the book would really be written by my favorite Parks and Recreation character.
Well, you know what the old adage about assume says, don’t you?
That’s not to say that Paddle Your Own Canoe isn’t amusing at times. It has some genuinely funny moments and stories about Offerman’s upbringing in there. But those moments are buried in between essays by Offerman on a variety of subjects and viewpoints that either differed with my own views so such a degree that I found myself wanting to debate the book or else they didn’t interest me because they went too far afield to hold my attention for long.
As for my assumption that Offerman equal Swanson, I can say that while the two share some traits, they are radically different people. I suppose it would be similar to me assuming that Henry Winkler is exactly the same as Fonzie and being shocked to not see Winkler in the famous black leather jacket were we ever to encounter each other in real life. (Which is highly unlikely considering that he lives in Hollywood and I live in Music City).
It all adds up to a book that has some humorous moments, but it’s no where nearly in the same stratosphere at Fey’s Bossy Pants or Seinfeld’s SeinLanguage.
I will also admit there were times reading this book that I felt like I was doing myself a disservice by not listening to it as an audiobook, hopefully read by Offerman. Comedy is about timing and I wonder if the book might have been more amusing with Offerman delivering the jokes and anecdotes.