I saw this in my local library, hanging out on a shelf with some other recently released titles. Since I’m about to dive into some much heavier literature (and absolutely love Parks & Rec) I added it on to my (already substantial) pile of books. It was a pretty enjoyable and light read – exactly what I wanted and expected from the writers of Parks & Recreation. I read the majority of this book in large chunks before falling asleep every night, and it was a great diversionary read: funny, interesting, and easily broken down into smaller pieces.
If you like Parks & Recreation, you may like this book; if you’ve never seen the TV show, there’s really no reason to pick it up. I consider myself a pretty big fan of the show, and I didn’t find the book all that engrossing. Yeah, it was interesting to read about Pawnee and elaborations on the tidbits of weird history that make it into the show, but I would have enjoyed the book much more had it been read live by all of the characters in some sort of strange, fictionalized PBS history special.
One of the things I enjoy the most about Parks & Rec is the characters, and more importantly, the actors who portray them. Although the writing in the book (mostly short essays or lists) is extremely faithful to the character’s voices, it’s not the same as watching the same characters in the show. I think this may be an instance in which the television material is better than any sort of literature attached to the show.This is probably due to two main factors: not only the TV show was developed first, and is the original source material for the book, but also because the actual sitcom has some extremely talented actors portraying the characters that the writers develop.
Even so, I still really liked reading Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America and I laughed a lot out loud, to myself, in bed. I probably sounded like a crazy person, but how could you not laugh out loud when reading an essay entitled ‘Jean-Ralphio’s Five Hottest Clubs in Pawnee’ or stories about the truly strange and terrifying history of Pawnee? It’s pretty amazing to see what the writers of the show came up with when fleshing out the back story of the town. This isn’t a book I’m too invested in, or even would really recommend to too many people, but if you really like Parks & Rec and are looking for something both interesting and funny to read, this is a pretty safe bet.