And Now We Shall Do Manly Things by Craig J. Heimbuch is a funny, quirky, and often extremely touching memoir of one man’s attempt to “discover his manhood through the great (and not-so-great) American hunt.” Heimbuch, as both author and narrator, imbibes his story with hilarious childhood anecdotes and reflections on his youth in the Midwest. He excels at creating character in just a few sentences, and he makes every person—whether it is his dear old dad or the man selling coffee at the gas station—unique and believable.
One of Heimbuch’s largest strengths is this ability to poke fun at humanity, without ever actually demeaning the people involved. His writing is a commentary on the whole human race, the hunting tradition, and his own nature, which makes it so much more funny and relatable. One of my favorite parts of the memoir was when Heimbuch discussed his affinity for the situationally appropriate “gear,” and reflects on his ill-fated attempt to introduce nylon parachute pants as a fashion statement back in school.
Much like Bill Bryson in style, Heimbuch managed to keep me (an ignorant non-hunter through and through!) engaged throughout the memoir. Though appropriately peppered with hunting jargon and terms I still don’t quite know if I grasp, the memoir maintained its firm perspective of another ignorant inductee to the hunting world, which really helped me from getting lost. Heimbuch also excels at sweeping reflections of the nature all around him. My current home is the Midwest, so I was especially able to appreciate his characterization of the landscape and his attention to place and environment.
Recommended to: the hunting enthusiast, the lover/sibling/friend/parent of the hunting enthusiast, Bill Bryson fans, and anyone who used to imagine being Daniel Boone when they were kids.