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The Book of Guys Paperback – September 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (September 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140233725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140233728
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Book of Guys features 22 very funny stories about "ordinary guys, gods, heroes, and dim bulbs," told in the friendly, conversational style of silver-tongued master storyteller Garrison Keillor, the host and writer of the popular radio show "Prairie Home Companion," author of Lake Wobegon Days, Happy To Be Here, and many other books.

"Guys are in trouble these days," says Keillor. "Years ago, manhood was an opportunity for achievement and now it's just a problem to be overcome. Guys who once might have painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling are now just trying to be Mr. O.K. All-Rite, the man who can bake a cherry pie, be passionate in a skillful way, and yet also lift them bales and tote that barge."

In the book's introduction, a bunch of guys are drinking whiskey in the woods and singing mournful songs. One of them says, "I ain't no misogynist or chauvinist but I got to say, women are getting awfully impossible to please these days. . . . I quit playing softball and deer hunting and took up painting delicate watercolors, still lifes mostly, and tossing salads, and learned how to discuss issues and feelings and concerns and not make jokes about them, and they're still angry at me. A guy can't win . . . . So don't worry about it. Live your life. Oya! we all yelled."

This book is truly a hoot, even if you're not a guy.

From Publishers Weekly

Keillor's humorous collection of stories about manhood in the '90s was a seven-week PW bestseller.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Garrison Keillor is the bestselling author of Lake Wobegon Days, Happy To Be Here, Leaving Home, We Are Still Married, Radio Romance, The Book of Guys and Wobegon Boy (available in Penguin Audiobook). He is the host of A Prairie Home Companion on American public radio and a contributor to Time magazine. He lives in Wisconsin and New York City.

Customer Reviews

This book is very funny.
Spider Monkey
Some days you'll tune into Prairie Home Companion and hear him with a story or skit that seems a bit familiar - the situations are the same, if not the exact words.
William Wilson
He wasn't trying to be fair minded - that's part of the point.
Trevor Kettlewell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Garrison Keillor is an excellent storyteller. I have loved my visits to Lake Wobegon, both through his books and his radio broadcast.
"The Book of Guys" is the kind of funny, well-crafted storytelling you would expect from Keillor. However, he is not at his best here.
These short stories tend to explore some areas that Keillor does not seem to be as comfortable in. They seem, at times, to be an exercise in which G.K. stretched his own limitations, experimenting with different types of characters and situations.
It's a very good book -- very funny, and very well-written. But if you haven't read Keiller before, I would recommend "Lake Wobegon Days" first.
Yet, even Keillor at his absolute worst (and "Book of Guys" is certainly not this!) would probably be worth reading. The man is simply a great storyteller!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brooklyn on October 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
Other reviewers are more than informative about the book's contents, so I'll be brief.

This book is for middle-aged men. As a guy leaving my own youth behind and headed into the middle years, the book is more relevant and funnier than it would have been even three years ago.

If you are a fan of Prairie Home Companion, be warned! This is NOT his usual sappy fare. A couple of pieces have that Garrison Keillor sheen we know and love, but for the most part, these pieces expose another side of Mr. Keillor's talent. Though his style has not changed, his subject matter does.

The book is at turns, funny, sappy, sad, disturbing. The honesty of his phrases, whether in a comedic or tragic moment, is very refreshing. His words get right to the truth of the matter and don't dress it up much. Not a bit of it is bad writing; it's all good, but you must be prepared for a wider definition of "good" than you might expect from works like Lake Wobegon Days and such.

And, finally, delivery is key. I found I "got it" when I imagined Mr. Keillor reading it to me, which is perhaps a weakness of his writing -- it must be delivered in his voice. So consider buying the audiotape of it -- you won't miss anything and you'll have the added benefit of experiencing these tales exactly as Mr. Keillor intended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Loren D. Morrison on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
The best way to describe THE BOOK OF GUYS would be to say that it is written about guys, by a guy, and for the entertainment of guys. It really is a guy book. Let's take a look at some of the guys:
There are a couple of stories about guy gods: Zeus trapped in the body of an overweight Lutheran minister, and Dionysus undergoing middle age crisis.
Don Giovanni is now a piano playing guy in a seedy lounge in Fargo.
We meet the first President Bush out for an afternoon's fishing with Willie Horton. Just a couple of guys passing the time.
One of my favorite guys is Omoo the Wolf Boy as he raises a litter of human babies and makes them bi-lingual by teaching them Wolfspeak and Humanspeak.
We mustn't forget Earl Grey, the American guy who invented the tea that bears his name, but who can never get over the trauma of being a middle child.
A few others to think about: "Casey at the Bat" told from the standpoint of the other team, Dustburg, "Buddy the Leper," "Roy Bradley, Boy Broadcaster," and we wouldn't want to miss "Herb Johnson, the God of Canton.
I would be remiss if I left out the opening address to "The Federation of Associations Convention." Here, Keillor talks about the annual mid-winter campfire of the "Sons of Bernie" in which several grown guys stand in waist deep snow in 20 degree below zero weather swapping manly guy tales.
This is a sampling of the treats awaiting the reader of THE BOOK OF GUYS.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Buckeye on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like books that make me laugh out loud, though they're way too few and far between. This one had me laughing throughout, and for that reason alone it is well worth the read. And no, I don't think you'd have to be a guy to enjoy this one.
Keillor's writing, besides being very funny, is very literate and clever. Many of the stories come across in much the same way his radio skits and monologues do. But - I wouldn't say that he's quite mastered the written short story genre just yet. Quite a few of the stories have endings that read like Keillor just decided that the story had gone on long enough, so let's see if we can wrap it up in the next 20 words or so. They kind of leave you hanging.
However, stylistic demerits aside, this is one very funny book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PARTHO ROY on September 20, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Garrison Keillor tells tales so well that he can even make male chauvinism laugh-out-loud hilarious. (I suppose that Comedy Central's "The Man Show" can do that, too, for the Neanderthal set). With titles such as "Buddy the Leper" and "Don Juan in Hell," the listener gets a strange mix of characters from all sides of the frustrated male experience in "The Book of Guys." Combined with Keillor's trademark voice and meditative delivery (a national favorite), you get an audio book guaranteed to please everyone, whether or not you hail from Lake Wobegon. A great recording for any guy, or married woman trying to better understand her husband's mind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By danstarkey@aol.com on October 29, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
Fans of Garrison Keillor's radio shows and his Lake Woebegon stories will appreciate this dark departure from the all-smiles characters he usually talks about. The lonesome cowboy who can't decide whether to rope cattle or to collect china -- or -- when Dionysius the wine god turns 50. The stories are more 'way involved than I expected, and I'm thinking of buying several copies for Xmas gifts. If you've ever wondered about your relationship and whether anyone else feels like 'guys can't win,' this spells it all out. Gawd, it's funny!
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