Willie’s Redneck Time Machine (Be Your Own Duck Commander #1) – Travis Thrasher and John Luke Robertson

Willie's Redneck Time Machine Travis Thrasher John Luke Robertson
Willie's Redneck Time Machine by John Luke Robertson, Travis Thrasher
Series: Be Your Own Duck Commander #1
Published by Tyndale on October 1, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Children's
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four-stars

In this four-book juvenile fiction series featuring the popular Robertson family of Duck Commander and written by Phil's grandson John Luke Robertson (with Travis Thrasher), readers are invited to participate in the zany fun of the Duck Commander world. After a few chapters, readers can choose to go down different paths--all filled with humor and life lessons.

In this volume, Willie finds a mysterious wooden crate in the Duck Commander warehouse. Only John Luke is around, so the two of them open up the box and find a strange device. It turns out it's a time machine that looks a bit like an outhouse. Willie and John Luke test out the machine and find themselves journeying back and forth in time. They have crazy adventures but know they need to make it back to West Monroe. But will they make the right choices to get back at the right time?

The Duck Commander people have done a lot of weird things in the years they’ve been on television, whether it’s the goofy kind of weird (like the show in general) or the serious kind of weird (like standing up for their Christian beliefs and value). But Willie’s Redneck Time Machine, written by John Luke Robertson and Travis Thrasher, may just be the weirdest yet…and that’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.

I remember Choose Your Own Adventure books as those old thin paperbacks I got from the library as a child. The books were wonders to me because I had (almost) endless possibilities. The stories were goofy, the second-person narrative always a bit odd, but it was great fun. When Travis Thrasher, the folks at Tyndale, and the Robertsons sat down to figure out how to expand into YA fiction, something clicked with a Choose Your Own Adventure book. And so now we have Willie’s Redneck Time Machine, the first in a four book series called Be Your Own Duck Commander.

The concept would be ridiculous…except everything about Duck Dynasty is ridiculous and they’ve become a pop culture phenomenon because of that. This series is no different. The main story revolves around Willie finding an outhouse-shaped time machine in the shop, like something went wrong in the proofreading factory and instead of Doctor Who’s TARDIS, they got Doctor Poo’s TURDIS. Willie steps in and…well, anything can happen. Choose this decision and get thrown into the future. Choose this decision and be taken into the past. Maybe things work out, maybe they don’t. I intended to keep track of every possible story iteration, but I lost track after about twenty. I think I read every possible storyline…I think.

Thrasher and Robertson write well for the intended age group. They don’t take the story too seriously, and I feel like John Luke has the unique ability to write the characters in a way no one else could. But it’s more than just goofy fun. Mimicking the show, the book also teaches some life lessons along the way. Rather than be in-your-face about it, the themes flow naturally from the storytelling as readers experience firsthand the value of making good choices.

With its entertaining characters, hilarious dialogue, crazy situations, and overall goofy fun, I can guarantee that this is gonna be a bestseller. That’s a fact, Jack.

four-stars

About Travis Thrasher

Travis Thrasher

Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books, spanning genres in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, celebrities and pastors.

With the childhood goal of pursuing a writing career starting in third grade, Thrasher worked for 13 years at Tyndale House Publishers after graduating college. His experience working with as Author Relations Manager allowed him to understand the writing life as well as training him to work with a variety of personalities. This experience has proven to be invaluable with varied writing projects in the decade he’s been a full-time writer.

His novels are as diverse as the people he’s worked with, ranging from love stories to supernatural thrillers. Publishers Weekly said “Sara and Ethan are two of the most real and sensitive lovers to grace the genre” when reviewing his first novel, The Promise Remains. They also stated “Thrasher demonstrates a considerable talent for the horror genre” in a review for Isolation years later. His readers have enjoyed the unpredictability of his novels, whether it’s due to a unique style such as second person or a twist they never saw coming.

Thrasher’s storytelling ability has also allowed him to work with others on their books, from musicians like country musician Scotty McCreery and Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. He has also penned novels based on songs such as Paper Angels with Jimmy Wayne and novelizations for films including Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Upcoming projects continue to expand his talents, with projects including The Black Auxiliary about the lives of the 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and Baby Don’t Hurt Me about comedian Chris Kattan’s life and time on Saturday Night Live.

Travis lives with his wife and three young daughters in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

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