Si-Cology 1: Tales & Wisdom From Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncole, by Si Robertson with Mark Schlabach
I thought this was an enjoyable book to read. Obviously, it’s not intended entirely seriously, but if you are even a modest fan of the Duck Dynasty family, this is a worthwhile book to read . Uncle Si is known on the show Duck Dynasty for being somewhat silly and for being prone to speak in malapopisms, and is therefore a highly quotable person even in an eccentric family. This book, though, is far more serious of a volume than one would expect it to be given its title and the person responsible for writing it. Still, this is an enjoyable book to read and provides a lot of thought-provoking material about family and the way that people live. The juxtaposition of the silliness of Si’s quotes with the seriousness of the narrative makes for an unusual experience, as if the people behind the making of this book were not entirely comfortable that people wanted to see the serious side of Uncle Si without at least some reminder of his odd and nonsensical sayings. For those readers who do enjoy a serious read, the dramatic mood shifts between the photos and the text that makes up the vast majority of this book can be a bit jarring.
In terms of its contents and structure, this is for the most part a fairly conventional memoir of about 200 pages in length with some letters from the author’s wife and children at the end. Overall, the narrative dwells a long time both on the author’s childhood growing up poor as part of a big and loving Louisiana family as well as his two decades in the military. The author’s commentary on himself as a ladies man is probably meant to be funny, but it is obvious that there is a lot of love between himself and his wife and there are a lot of poignant moments concerning the author’s experiences in Vietnam, his heart attack scare that led him to quit smoking after decades of cigarette use, and his wife’s fertility issues. Also particularly praiseworthy is the credit the author gives to his kids and the laid back way that he expresses his faith, without harsh condemnation towards others or a big belief in showing off his commitment to faith, which stands in stark contrast to some members of his family. The result is a book that serves to reveal the real Si to readers, and that is a man worth knowing.
There is a lot to appreciate this book, and one of the more obvious aspects is not to judge a book by its cover. With a silly title and likely a fair amount of prejudice on the part of the reader coming into this book that there will be a lot of silliness, this is a book that could likely surprise many readers with its moderation and with the seriousness of the life that the author has lived. Considerable praise for the skill of this book belongs to the co-writer, who from what I can gather is a frequent co-writer for the Robertson family, who manages to take what seems to be a somewhat scattered person and turns his narrative into compelling drama about loyalty to family and country. For those readers who have seen the more humorous side of the author, this book definitely will likely open up some eyes about the serious side of the author’s life, and the way that he learned some lessons from the difficulties of his own childhood on how to be a considerate father to his own children and help them wrestle with the difficulties of their lives.
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