It’s always tough for me to write reviews of products I didn’t like, especially from everyday people trying their best to express themselves while making a product people will enjoy. Unfortunately, I’d be doing a disservice to everyone if I wasn’t honest about my thoughts on a product I was asked to review. Bear that in mind when reading this one.
Chuck Bonner loves nature. There is absolutely no denying that. His book Noticing Nature proves his love for nature and his keen observation skills. Someone must have told him one day that he should write a book of all his nature stories. It’s not easy to put down your thoughts on paper in such a way that the reader is transported to the natural world with you. Unfortunately, Mr. Bonner’s passion for the outdoors wasn’t quite enough to detract from some glaring problems with his book.
Self-publishing has been fairly lucrative for many authors who otherwise would not have the opportunity to get their work seen. But just like any other self-published piece of work, the cream rises to the top. Even the cover of Noticing Nature screams amateur, from the hokey graphics to the low resolution photos. What also screams amateur is the simple, unorganized layout of text and image. Stories don’t flow into each other, time frames jump all over the place, and facts are thrown around without any citations.
Perhaps the most distracting elements of Noticing Nature are the poor, inconsistent grammar and the heavy use of colloquialisms and “common” language. Any book editor worth his salt would have thrown red flags all over this text, warning Mr. Bonner that he either needs to take a creative writing class or two, or pass on his stories orally. Trying to decipher some of the passages in Noticing Nature is difficult to the point of distraction, which really takes the reader out of the wonderful natural world Mr. Bonner is no doubt trying to describe.
Mr. Bonner has a real knack for observing his natural surroundings. As I mentioned earlier, he’s got a true passion for being outdoors and soaking in everything that happens around him. From an argument between a hawk and a woodpecker to a magical encounter with a doe, Mr. Bonner’s wealth of experience noticing nature gives him a unique perspective on the environment and how humans and nature interact.
Despite the glaring grammar and spelling mistakes, Mr. Bonner’s descriptions of his natural encounters are sometimes surprisingly beautiful. It’s obvious Mr. Bonner has spent a lot of time outdoors simply observing. That is something to which we should all strive. Perhaps in Mr. Bonner’s next book, an editor will help translate his absolute passion to the page. In the case of Noticing Nature, if you can get past the difficult outer shell, you may find a nugget or two of priceless beauty.
The Low Down
Title: Noticing Nature
Author: Chuck Bonner
Where to buy: Noticing Nature