Audiobook Review: “Grasshopper Trap” & “How I Got This Way”

Grasshopper Trap by Patrick McManus

How I Got This Way by Patrick McManus

RBdigital audiobook reviews by Jeannette

The author was raised by his mother, grandmother, and an older sister Patricia (referred to in his stories as “the Troll”). His family didn’t have much money and lived on a small farm in Idaho where they grew most of their own food. McManus wrote mostly about his outdoor adventures with semi-fictional characters such as his old woodsman mentor Rancid Crabtree, his childhood friends Crazy Eddie Muldoon and Retch Sweeney and his dog Strange. The stories are mostly based on elaborate exaggerations of these surreal adventures.

Maybe because this book is a chaotic walk through of McManus’s mind, I found it an easy and entertaining read. The individual chapters are about 15-20 minutes long and are standalone; no pressure to do a marathon read here! In one chapter I found myself immerged in how to build a profitable business from catching grasshoppers and in the next am learning about the importance of convergence and geometry when it comes to deer hunting. You don’t have to be an outdoorsy person to enjoy these stories that are laced with a healthy dose of sarcasm and a dry and slightly warped sense of humor.

Here are a few anecdotes:

“Just this morning I rushed onto a plane at Minneapolis airport. My boarding pass indicated my seat as 17F. The rows stopped at 16. It is fortunate that they did otherwise I would have ended up in Baltimore instead of Spokane.”

“To this day I can remember the exhilaration of that first flight, even though it lasted but a second. I didn’t land on my head right away, choosing to put that of until the second or third bounce and early indication of my inherent good sense.”

“I was astonished and enraged. My own mother had flunked me! Eventually I regarded my flunking second grade on the grounds of too many absences as being a major achievement, and I still do.”

“Driving out to the country the other day, my wife, Bun, and I passed the aromatic remains of at least ten road-killed skunks. ‘Must be a good year for skunks,’ I observed. ‘Looks like a bad one for them, if you ask me,’ Bun said.’ I mean there’s obviously a large skunk population this year,’ I sniffed, instantly realizing that I shouldn’t have sniffed, because at that moment we were passing another skunk carcass.”