#Bookreview of HERONK
by Ronald Richards
Meet the unlikeliest of heroes: Gustav, a wooden goose decoy.
His story begins after his creation at the hands of an old German craftsman in 1930’s Illinois. Over the course of the next half century, he is pulled along by the current of rivers, pushed by the energy of providence and influenced by the power of the human spirit.
Through many travels and unexpected travails, his story offers a unique and insightful glimpse into the world of the waterfowler. Who would think that glass eyes, glued into a wooden head, could see the world so clearly?
This is another book I’ve had on my kindle for over a year. After that long, I’d forgotten what the story was about. Which is fine by me. I like to be surprised. From reading the Acknowledgement page, I knew Ronald was an avid waterfowl hunter. What I didn’t realize, the story is about a wooden goose decoy that comes to life, sort of. When writing reviews, they say not to put the negative first, save it for the end. But in this case, I’m going to break the rules.
Okay, I started reading this tale, which is from the POV of the wooden goose decoy named Gustav. One of many names he acquires over the years. My problem right from the start is, how does Gustav seem to know anything? How did pieces of wood glued together suddenly come to life? He thinks but can’t communicate with anyone. Basically, he’s just a sentient piece of wood. It was hard for me to swallow the fact that he just knew everything. And I mean everything, what the different breeds of dogs were, tools, guns, cars, you name it. But there was nothing to explain how this chunk of wood came alive. Was he made from magical wood or glue, WHAT?!
So, curious, I went to Ronald’s Amazon Author page. He’s only published this one book, and that was back in 2014. Okay, that explains a lot. He’s an amateur writer. The idea probably came to him as he sat in his blind, season after season, staring at his decoys, on those bluebird days when nothing could be called or decoyed down from the sky. See? I learned something about waterfowl hunting. LOL.
Anyway, I was still intrigued by the story, even with the major plot issues, so I ate a big box of salt and commenced reading. What I did find was a man who truly loved the sport of hunting. And not just for the sake of shooting and killing an animal. Ronald brings to the story his reverence of nature, the beauty of wildlife and the right and wrong ways of hunting and treating nature. My father was a fisherman, and we spent two weeks a summer camping and fishing. Back then, most of the dams were pretty primitive, not like now. Now they resemble an outdoor motel, but with trailers. Wherever we camped, we left the place looking better than when we got there. So, I felt a kinship with Ronald.
As we follow the story through Gustav’s eyes, we take his incredible journey with him. Some of it funny and adventurous, some of it sad, filled with life lessons. And that’s what this book is really about. Life lessons. The good and the bad. For a wooden goose decoy, he sure had a hell of a life. And I cried for him at the end.
If you’re an avid hunter looking for a fun fiction book based on hunting, or a youngster just staring out, you will enjoy this book. I give it 3.5 goose feathers, rounded up to 4.