As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

June 1, 2011

NEVER SNIFF A GIFT FISH by Patrick McManus, 1984

Never Sniff A Gift FishMore humerous observations and insights into the agonies and ecstacies of hunting, fishing, and camping by the author of They Shoot Canoes, Don't They? and other celebrations of life in the wild. (Amazon)

Review by Emily, bibliophile and high school student

Sometimes, I need a good laugh. This book provides laughs in abundance. It's a collection of short stories told by a crusty old codger. At least, he wants you to think that.

The titles of the stories are enough to make me chuckle. Who could resist reading a story called "Poof - No Eyebrows!" or "The Arkansas Prank Hound"? Well, I probably could, but I'd be curious for the rest of my days.

Patrick McManus's stories of the great outdoors are told in a tone that looks, at first, to be serious. Until you notice that his subject matter is usually how terribly inept others are. And that he, himself, is probably more clumsy than anyone else. Add that to the fact that he seems the type to tell a fish story the size of which exceeds human imagination, and you have hilarity. By the end of some of his (rather preposterous) stories, I was laughing so hard that I was crying.

One of my favorite parts of these stories are the names. Rancid Crabtree, Finley, and Retch Sweeney all populate the pages of these tall tales. And they are definitely memorable not only for their names, although with names like those, they are not likely to be forgotten.

McManus has a knack for taking an ordinary outdoors experience and turning it into a terrifying, side-splitting adventure, from hiking a mountain trail to fishing a creek (pronounced 'crick'). There is a story about running out of gas, of all things, that has a great deal of both terror and laughter combined, mostly because it could happen to anyone, and occasionally does.

So. A good book to read when you're feeling blue and depressed, or maybe just bored. It definitely will not disappoint.

Market: Young Adult/Adult comedy
Language: The author self-edits using *bleep*. Which, for some reason, I find quite amusing.
Sensuality: None
Violence: Only against inanimate objects, and perhaps against the author.
Mature Themes: Stupidity?

Book formats:

(*Note from Bookshop Talk - this sounds like it would make an awesome Father's Day gift!)

To learn more about the author, visit: Patrick McManus


Amy said...

My husbands family has been reading McManus for years and introduced me when we got married. Definitely a favorite for camping trips!

Anonymous said...

This book sounds wonderfully funny! Thank you for the Father's Day recommendation, too! I think it'll be perfect. :)