Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America
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Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  2,109 ratings  ·  185 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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Community Reviews

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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
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
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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
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.
Sarah Mackey
I cannot remember the last time I read a book that filled me with this much joy.
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
Sherri Keller
This is, literally, the best book ever written.

One minor quibble I have with the book is the Brief Note on the Typeface on the last page. It says that the book is set in "Prairie Strong", designed by Jørgen Svensson in 1924, etc., etc.

Then there is a "quote" by Alfred Barr, Jr., MOMA's famed curator which reads:
"Jørgen Svensson's 'Prairie Strong' is exactly the same as Times New Roman. Literally. He simply took Times New Roman—an extremely famous and popular font, mind you—and copied it, and cla...more
Melissa
Parks and Recreation is an absolutely wonderful little show - hilarious, on-the-nose, with a whole lot of heart. Tie-in book Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America is lacking in comparison, but still made me laugh obnoxiously loud a good half dozen times. It's ostensibly a history of and guide to the fictional Pawnee, penned by deputy Parks director Leslie Knope (in actuality written by Nate DiMeo and the show's creative team).

It's a little bizarre in that it really does capture Amy Poehler's Les...more
Brad
I found this book entertaining, but perhaps a little "too much" Parks and Rec (if that's a thing) for extended reading sessions; I recommend it in small doses, and only to fans of the show. Obviously you have to read the articles in the voices of the characters who "wrote" them. The actual writers from the TV show did a nice job of maintaining the phrasing and wording of the TV characters, but it serves as a reminder just how much of the characters is brought by the actors who play them.

If you l...more
Jake
I agree that TV tie-in books almost never match the quality of the show. However, this book not only nailed character voices, but it was legitimately well written and a good stand-alone work about a fictional town that everyone would want to really exist. It's easy to do "oh, this town is so wacky," but this book did it in such an articulate and precise way that you forget all the lazy attempts at that joke. It's wild and silly, but it also remains grounded through the character narrator, Leslie...more
Julie Bihn
I really enjoy "Parks and Rec" and thought this would be a fun read, given my interest in history and yes, in made-up places. From the rave reviews on Amazon, I'd expected this to be a "history" of the fictional town of Pawnee, but it's not exactly organized--it's almost scattered musings ranging from a few timelines of events all the way to having April write about "Potato Steve." Mostly, I didn't feel like the priorities were right in this book...there are about 1.5 pages devoted to Li'l Sebas...more
Lacey Louwagie
This book was a fun supplement for Parks & Recreation fans, especially to tide me over as I wait for the next season to be added on Netflix. Like the TV series, it gave me several moments of laugh-out-loud humor. I learned how different mine and Ivan's senses of humor are when he often laughed out loud at places that I didn't.

We had this book propped up on the kitchen table for weeks and we read it during various meals. With short sections, lots of sidebars and pictures, and no plot, this bo...more
Natalie
I really like the show Parks & Recreation, so I thought I would love this book. However, I find that it does itself damage by being too long and relying on a joke that wears thin too quickly. Yes, Pawnee is a seemingly awful town, but the book just keeps repeating this over and over. I had hoped for some unseen stills from episodes or behind the scenes photos but most pictures seem to be stock photography. A better version of the 'guide to a fictional town' book is 'The Simpsons Guide To Spr...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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