Saturday, July 19, 2014

Feminist Review: Pawnee by Leslie Knope

Saturday, July 19, 2014
Welcome to Pawnee: More Exciting than New York, More Glamorous than Hollywood, Roughly the Same Size as Bismarck, North Dakota In Pawnee, Leslie Knope (as played by Amy Poehler on NBC's hit show Parks and Recreation) takes readers on a hilarious tour through her hometown, the Midwestern haven known as Pawnee, Indiana. The book chronicles the city's colorful citizens and hopping nightlife, and also explores some of the most hilarious events from its crazy history--like the time the whole town was on fire, its ongoing raccoon infestation, and the cult that took over in the 1970s. Packed with laugh-out-loud-funny photographs, illustrations, and commentary by the other inhabitants of Pawnee, it's a must-read that will make you enjoy every moment of your stay in the Greatest Town in America.
Summary from Leafmarks 

The Quick of It: Reading Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America (allegedly written by the fictional Leslie Knope) is kind of like watching one really long episode of Parks and Rec. While also rewatching all of your favorite episodes. While hanging out with the characters. Basically, if you're a Parks and Rec fan, this book will be a lot of fun. And if you're not a Parks and Rec fan...why the hell are you reading this book??

Yes, unfortunately, self-declared feminist Ms. Knope strays from her ideals when discussing the women's rights hero of Pawnee, Dorothy Everton Smythe (though the rest of the section is, admittedly, pretty amusing). According to the book, Smythe had to educate herself in secret since women's education was outlawed and so she "'traded kisses for books.'" Leslie goes onto comment that "Basically, she was a little slutty, but for a good cause."

At which point, I was kind of like, HOLD UP. I mean, it's not the biggest thing in the world - it's a throwaway joke in a comedy book - but why is a female character's sexuality being judged or explained away? And by a feminist, no less? 

A demerit for you, Leslie Knope.

Making the Grade: 
I mean, if you want to see an awesome female friendship, just look at Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins. While Ann Perkins is only featured in a short section of the book, I'm giving points because of how great their friendship is on the show, which may be cheating but, well, it's my blog.

"She's my best friend and I love her" ~Ann Perkins on Leslie Knope

One thing I really want to point out is that besides being hilarious, Leslie Knope is a really important figure in our media. She's a woman with amazing leadership skills who is determined and gets stuff done (while still being a bit nutty and endearing and nerdy), which is why Parks and Rec is one of my all-time favorite TV shows.

Other Notes: This book is funny- like, really really funny. Every few pages I would put it down and stop whoever was nearby so I could read a particularly chuckle-inducing passage out loud, which probably got a little annoying for my mom after awhile (especially considering she doesn't watch P&R). But seriously, if you're looking for a break from heavy duty reading and want something enjoyable, Pawnee is a good choice.

Get a Copy (you know, if you want)

Final Grade: B-


  1. I still haven't watched the end of series 6. It's unbearable I know !
    I have never heard of this book, but why not !

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