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Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  2,558 ratings  ·  217 reviews
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 an ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2011)
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Biographies
38th out of 98 books — 17 voters
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Books about Small Towns
97th out of 172 books — 62 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Gretchen Alice
This is LITERALLY the greatest book about Pawnee that I have ever read. A must-read for fans of Parks and Recreation. (And, really, if you aren't a fan, you need to change that immediately. I'm going to paraphrase Dwight Schrute who once said, "Do you watch [Parks and Recreation]? No? Then you are an idiot.")
Megan (Book Brats)
As a more recent convert to the Church of Parks and Recreation, I have to admit that I had no clue what I was missing before. The show is hilarious, packed with laughs and oohs and aahs and even moments where I tear up a little. When a friend purchased this book for me as a birthday present, I dug into it impatiently and reveled in each and every moment. Savoring this book was out of the question. The only answer was to eat up each page voraciously and then feel sorry for myself when I reached t ...more
Melki
Welcome to Pawnee, Indiana - First in Friendship, Fourth in Obesity. (Must have something to do with all that corn syrup in the water supply...)

Allow the ever-cheerful Leslie Knope to take you on a tour of her beloved hometown. Learn all about the town's rich and deeply disturbing history, including the townfounder who refused to wear breeches on the Sabbath. Sample the world's greatest waffles at JJ's Diner, or stop in at The Snakehole Lounge and enjoy a "Him-osa" - a Mimosa topped off with a s
...more
Nancy
Chock full of the same amount of humor and heart and inside jokes and craziness, Pawnee, IN is clearly the best fictional small town since Stars Hollow, CT. Actually, it's even better. Pawnee wins with the Reasonableists, the glorious rubber nipple factory, and the corporate giant Sweetums which helps makes Pawnee fourth in obesity. The book is hilariously in character, and my only complaint is that I wish it were a little longer.

If you're a fan of the show Parks & Recreation, this book is a
...more
Meghan
I'm going to make a statement, and the statement is this: This is literally the greatest book in America. I can't overhype it enough. And, its pretty unapologetic...

Spread your wings and fly!

Seriously, Parks and recreation is the greatest show in America. A lot of the book is directly from the show, not much new, but I love it anyway.
Alex
Feb 05, 2015 Alex rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015
Remember the episode where they make a time capsule and Leslie Knope writes a book for it? Here is that book, and if "remember that episode when..." is your favorite game, this is the book for you. Or, if you see it on the sidewalk and somehow recognize Leslie Knope just from her blazer, because the rest of it is covered by trash, then probably that's a sign that this is, if not the, at least a book for you. It's entertaining enough. But it's sortof made to be found in your uncle's bathroom, whi ...more
Owen
How interesting...

I've been a fan of the hit show Parks and Recreation since it started airing in 2009.
That's a lie, I watched the first three (four?) seasons on Netflix this past summer in like a week. I also watched so many other shows on Netflix over the summer... I have an addictive personality, coupled with a newfound TV addiction, so that's fun. Anyway, I fell in love with the show and it became one of my favorite shows. Sadly, I have decided to not continue watching the current (fifth) se
...more
Hayden
this is LITERALLY the best book i have ever read.

240 pages of laughs, pawnee: the greatest town in america embodies everything awesome about the best television show ever***, parks and recreation, in book form. worried about losing the unique voices of the characters? don't worry, they are mentioned plenty in this amazing, hilarious book.

actually, "hilarious" doesn't begin to cover it. my brother and sister were asking my parents, "why is he laughing so much?" for real. every page brought a new
...more
Susannah Perkins
I'm a rabid Parks & Rec fan, but at first I was disappointed by this tie-in. Don't get me wrong - I hold this show's writing crew to be one of the most clever and original on primetime television right now. But so much of the show's charm and excitement comes from the collaboration between the writers and the actors that, for the first few chapters, the book fell flat. So much of Leslie Knope is what Amy Poehler brings to the table, and when divorced from Poehler's nuanced, sympathetic portr ...more
Rach
Hilarious, adorable, and perfect! If you like the show Parks and Recreation, you will live this book! Leslie's enthusiasm and love for Pawnee is addictive, and that's what makes this book LITERALLY the best book ever. Well, that and the history of the Sweetums company, Leslie's love for JJ's Diner's waffles, Ron's living in the woods diary, the special ad section... I could go on and on.

In the end, I'll leave you with words from Leslie herself: "Yes, every place in America has a story to tell, a
...more
Kelly Hager
This basically reads like a Pawnee history textbook. There are sidebars written by Ann, Chris, Ben, April, Andy and Tom (and, best of all, a nature diary from Ron Swanson!). If you're a fan of Parks and Recreation, you'll enjoy this book.

There are sections on Pawnee government, activities, parks and---my favorite---murals. (I do like when Leslie talks about them on the show, too.)

I was saving this because there aren't any new episodes of Parks and Recreation until April 19 (stupid Community!) bu
...more
Mom
Awesome! Hilariously funny!! I will keep this book in mind when I am feeling down and need a pick-me-up!! This book is so creative you forget it is a made up town. If you're not careful you might just catch yourself planning a vacation there!
Jennifer
Hilarious! If you are a fan of Parks & Rec, you should definitely read this book. The creativity of the writers astounds me - the lengths they've went to create a detailed history, culture, and profile of a fictional town. The "voices" in the book are true to the characters and the show. All around this is just a great, easy, fun read that will definitely have you laughing!
Sean Kennedy
This is probably one of the best television series tie-in products as it is actually written by the writing staff instead of someone completely separate. Because of this it sounds and reads exactly like a product devised by Leslie Knope and the rest of the Parks department would release. Many chortles lie within.
Sarah Mackey
I cannot remember the last time I read a book that filled me with this much joy.
Rachel
Oh my god, the writing staff on Parks and Recreation are my absolute favorite and this reminded me why. This was everything I love about the show in a book, hyperactive and hilarious, downright bizarre and offensive at times (Pawnee’s history is a messed up one) but always with heart. I mean, within a handful of pages, you can read Jean-Ralphio’s list of favorite clubs (including the rating from 1-10 of the girls he banged there) and read about how Ben grew to love Pawnee. There’s Ron’s nature d ...more
Josh
Dec 14, 2011 Josh rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
This is a really clever book, and I like it for the same reason I like parks & rec - the sense of humor is good natured and isn't really aimed at putting people down (except for Jerry). It's just about the absurdity of a small town - how small things can seem much more important than they warrant. But it also has a lot of affection for the small town lifestyle and kinda has the premise that it's not stupid to be proud of where you live, wherever that may be.

I realize this is a bit dramatic
...more
Em
I think your love for the book will be proportional to your love for the show.
Obviously I loved it. It captures the voice of the characters perfectly (especially Leslie as she's the one writing most of it) and it's really funny and has topics such as:
- "one month living in the woods in Pawnee" by Ron Swanson
- a map of Wamapoke incidents
- history of the racoon problem
- an entire chapter devoted to dissing Eagleton
- fake ads of every shop/restaurant/club/everything ever set in Pawnee
and so much m
...more
Roxanne
"Jean-Ralphio dance up on me."

Obviously only read this book if you watch parks and recreation otherwise it will make little to no sense to you. You have to watch this show, its literally the best show ever and its hilarious and amazing.
The book whilst not being the best thing you'll ever read and many of the jokes are repeated from the show, i just love the kitsch factor of it all and it made me laugh, definitely read it if you're a fan of the show.
Siskoid Albert
Pawnee - The Greatest Town in America is an abundantly illustrated fake guidebook to Leslie Knope's hometown, as featured (the town AND the book) on my new favorite comedy this year, Parks and Recreation. Written in Leslie's idiom and with her enthusiasm for what is in reality a pretty horrible town to live in, the book also features the voices of the show's other characters in the form of guest essays. The book is filled with those gory and insensitive City Hall paintings, maps, fake signs and ...more
Susan
If you don't mind picking up a book at random in between other books you're reading and reading a section or two before putting it back down, this is a wonderful book for that. But I prefer to read books all in order, and one at a time. This was a difficult book for me to get through. I love the show Parks and Recreation that it's based off of, and all of the writing was wonderfully in-character for everyone who had a part to contribute. This is a good coffee-table type book, which is what it wa ...more
Brian Lang
The Perfect Book For Any Parks and Rec Fan

Are you planning a vacation? Why not visit Pawnee? Leslie Knope wrote the perfect book about her hometown. Full of detailed information, Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America, is an amazing, informational book for fans of Parks and Recreation. This book has all of the information that any fan would want to know, such as: The Business Community, Entertainment, History, Heroes, etc. This book is filled with interesting articles by Leslie Knope as well as a
...more
Sonja
Normally I'd give this book a solid four stars because I enjoyed it, but Leslie's footnotes were so funny most of the time that I had to add the fifth star for those alone. This is a must-read for all Parks and Recreation fans.
Jayla Johnson
Instantly a new favorite, and I love how it stayed so true to the show and characters. Parks and Recreation is seriously one of the best shows out there, and this book single-handily proves that.
Miriam
In the land of the light read, the TV-tie-in is king. The TTI often gets lumped in with its deformed bastard cousin, the movie novelisation, but when the TTI is good, like this one, there's no similarity to be seen.
"Pawnee" is just good fun-- easily as funny as the show, but with all the delicious little details you can pretty near only put in writing. It's an exercise in world-building, political lampooning, and gut-busters. If you like "Parks and Recreation," take that relationship to the nex
...more
Garrett
A well-illustrated and comprehensive primer on Pawnee, possibly the most important place anywhere. A must-read that will fly by, amusing as it is informative.

IRL: Very funny collaborative effort, and a great tie-in to the show. The best TV and movie books are ones that make you hear the characters in your head, and this certainly does that.

Full disclosure: as many of you are saying "good-bye" to Parks & Rec., my family and I are watching it only for the 1st time, and we have just started Sea
...more
Dawn
I'm really sad that this will probably be the last piece of new (to me) writing from the Parks and Recreation team that I will get to enjoy. It's a credit to the show and the world building ability of the writers that they can create a whole book about the fictional town in which the show is set. Some sections are a little bit on the long side but Leslie Knope is nothing if not thorough. The book is a good reflection of her character aswell as the show. I laughed out loud at certain sections and ...more
Chris
An excellent companion book to 'Parks and Recreation' one of my favourite TV comedies.

The book is a silly comedy based on fictional characters from the series. I think it must have been written by the same people who write the scripts for the show because the characters dialogue practically comes off the page.

The book is a spoof guide of the fictional town of 'Pawnee, Indiana'. In places it is hilarious but one or two jokes fall flat on their face.

If you are a fan of the TV show (or know one) t
...more
Stacy
I am a huge fan of Parks and Recreation, so I'm slightly bias. And I bought this book as a gift (it was only 5 dollars! Win all around). But I promptly read it before I gave it to my brother.

So this is the novel Leslie wrote back in the earlier seasons. It tells the epic history of Pawnee and helps settle debates about where it is in the state. I laughed continuously while reading this book. I got weird looks from fellow plane passengers though.

I also loved how you could just hear Leslie's voice
...more
Krysten
TV tie-in books are always stupid, and Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America is no exception. I love Parks and Rec, but I do not love this book. Characters from the show are fleshed out at unnecessary length in jumbled-together scraps resembling cast-off bits that weren't quite good enough for the show. Sometimes the book was funny but mostly it reminded me of all the things I dislike about all the characters. I also don't get why despite writing this book about the town's intensely racist, ensla ...more
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Leslie Knope is currently the Deputy Director for the Pawnee City Parks and Recreation Department and candidate for Pawnee City Council. PAWNEE: THE GREATEST TOWN IN AMERICA is her first book.

(Leslie Knope is a fictional character on NBC's PARKS AND RECREATION and is portrayed by Amy Poehler.)
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