The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw is a delightful treasury of McManus's favorite (mostly outdoor) adventures with friends. His stories explore the human capacity to laugh in the face of misfortune, such as "The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw" (Goombaw is Eddie Muldoon's grandmother) and "The Fried Flies, Please, and Easy on the Garlic," a story of dinner-party adversity:
[CODE] "Martha starts. 'I do hope you won't take offense, Mr. McGinnis, but I view hunters as the lowest form of life, not excluding bacteria and algae.' 'No offense taken,' I reply, glad for an excuse to ignore my vichyssoise, which I view as the lowest form of food, not excluding lichens and boiled beets." [CODE] American humorist Patrick McManus could make being snagged by a fishhook funny, and in fact, he does. In his story "Getting It in the Ear," he writes, "One of the more interesting things that can happen to an angler is to get a barbed hook sunk into his hide. Such is the horror and fascination of the experience that many an angler has contemplated giving up his regular work and hitting the lecture circuit to entertain audiences around the nation with a dramatic rendering of his ordeal." After all, he argues, it's the misery endured that defines the sportsman, not the fish caught or the game shot. McManus's understated, matter-of-fact vignettes--infused with amusing glimpses of life's lesser-known eternal truths-- will make you laugh.