Duck Commander Family is suprisingly enjoyable
By Jamie Bayne, BCPL information services supervisor
Like many good red-blooded rednecks, I am a huge fan of the show Duck Dynasty produced by A&E. Being such a prodigious fan, I was leery to read the book Duck Commander Family in case some illusion I harbored was shattered. Because, let’s face it, television – especially reality television – is all about entertainment. The television show focuses on the men of Duck Commander – Phil, Willie, Jase, Si and (to a lesser extent) Jep Robertson. The book, written by both Willie and his wife Korrie, gives a more insightful look at the whole family.
Willie and Korrie write respectively of their families’ history and struggles. Willie comes from redneck blood through and through, but you might be surprised to learn that Phil (Willie’s father and the founder of Duck Commander) holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in English Literature and once taught high school English. He was also once a candidate for the NFL but preferred focusing on his hunting. Willie tells a sometimes dark tale of how his father spiraled downward, struggling with alcoholism and how his mother Kay took care of the three oldest boys on her own. Korrie’s family is more “yuppie” as Phil would say, focusing on business and growing their family fortunes through various enterprises (including a forerunner of warehouse stores which were eventually bought by Sam Walton). The family also founded Howard Publishing, later purchased by Simon and Schuster, who incidentally published this book (nothing like keeping it in the family!) Throughout the book you get a more globalized picture of the entire Robertson family – both male and female – and how they have come to be the people they are today. Especially central is their deep Christian faith and how it plays a role in their everyday lives and in the business.
The book was a surprisingly enjoyable read. While not overly preachy or self-centered, it gives a great view of more minimalized characters on the show and shows how each Robertson is an integral part of the family, business and faith. Especially interesting to learn about are Phil and Kay’s grandchildren – which play very small parts on the show but are a large part of the family’s life. While the writing is not Shakespeare, it is well constructed and easy to follow. Korrie and Willie’s voices are very distinct and both have pleasant, homey writing styles. I actually preferred Willie’s segments of the books, probably because I have more investment in him from watching the show, but I enjoyed the whole book. I’m also looking forward to reading Phil’s book Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander (May 2013).
Read Duck Commander Family and watch Duck Dynasty – all available at Boyd County Public Library. You can find it in our catalog, and place a hold
Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family and Ducks Built a Dynasty. Willie & Korie Robertson. New York: Howard Books, 2012. 261 pp.