Pat McManus (Real Ponies Don't Go Oink, 1991, etc.), the Falstaff of Field and Stream, gathers his fall collection of sporting silliness for his eighth trek down his own well-beaten path. Ever mindful of Mother Nature and always careful of the environment, McManus once again recycles several of his most popular characters (wife Bun, Retch Sweeny, Rancid Crabtree, et al.), who strut their usual stuff along with rotten neighbor-kid Felton and rich guy G. Thomas (Goosey) Smith. The lead is played, of course, by the author, who takes the pratfalls like the old trouper he is. In an autobiographical mood (his favorite mood), he admits to doing public relations for the firm that made the world's supply of bim toggles on zitflangs. Blame him for that classic slogan: ``We toggle your bims!'' There are some pleasantries on being poor and on mean Christmas gifts that ring true, but there's also the feeling that the old domesticated woodsman is coasting just a tad from time to time. There's the hunting and fishing fooling, naturally. This time out, in his angling for laughs, McManus has a few strikes, but he doesn't get his limit. As he says, ``that's the way fishing goes. Sometimes nothing much happens.'' Anyway, the company isn't bad, and fans will be quite satisfied to go along. No masterpiece of comic invention, but at least a workmanlike assemblage, with few springs, bolts, or nuts left out.
Patrick McManus is a treasure. The funniest writer I have ever read. Relive your childhood, camping, boy scouts, and chumming around with your best friend. I laughed all the way through his book.