You've Got to Be Kidding!

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
260 Pages
Reviewed on 02/28/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grace Ruhara for Readers' Favorite

Hunting: You've Got to Be Kidding! by Kevin Aelred Dettler is an emotional and captivating look as the author takes us through his journey to achieving "The North American 29 Award" for collecting and registering 29 species. This award makes him one of just 120 hunters worldwide to achieve this feat. The author's journey will not only teach readers the importance of persistence, a positive attitude, and patience that is required by hunters. It will also inspire non-hunters to apply these virtues daily to achieve their goals. Dettler's journey was not easy, requiring hard work and resilience. Despite having zero dollars in his bank account, he managed to improvise ways to attend the hunts. On days when he was successful in hunting his desired species, he was thrilled and fulfilled. When days ended without having caught any animals, he always maintained a positive attitude that kept pushing him on to the next day. Some of the trips he undertook were life-threatening, but he managed to survive. He had to battle depression at one point and wanted to give up, but he stayed strong and rooted in the game. The experience created happy and unforgettable memories for him. These made the trips fun and gave him reasons to push on, although at times he suffered disappointment.

What I liked about Hunting by Kevin Aelred Dettler was his positive attitude throughout his journey. On days he found himself in threatening, stressful, or disappointing situations, he always came up with his famous quote, "You've Got to Be Kidding!" He would then devise solutions as quickly as possible. I also found this amusing and a better way of dissecting issues and solving problems. This is one trait I would want to retain forever. I wish to approach difficult situations with a good attitude and a sense of humor to avoid stress and keep thinking about the solution, rather than the problem. I also liked the pictures that the author included of the animals he hunted. This provides proof of the animals he caught and helped me tag along on his hunts.

Maria Victoria Beltran

Hunting: You've Got to Be Kidding! is an autobiography by Kevin Aelred Dettler. It is the story of a man who dreams of completing a collection of animals to qualify for the North American 29 Awards as Safari Club International (SCI). This is a worldwide organization with a membership of over 200,000 hunters, outfitters, and associates. A farmer by profession, the author is passionate about hunting and goes to great lengths to fulfill his dream. His book introduces us to the life of a hunter as he pursues all the big game species in North America. Narrated chronologically, the story unravels in a small Inuit village in Holman, Northwest Territories in Canada where his hunt for polar bears began. What follows is an engaging account as he further aims to be one of the 120 worldwide hunters to receive the North American 29 Award.

Kevin Aelred Dettler’s Hunting: You've Got to Be Kidding! is a true story that should inspire readers; here is a man who is determined to fulfill his dream. Narrated in the first-person, the author’s literary style is casual with a healthy dose of humor. Reading his memoir is like listening to a friend relating his emotional, monetary, and spiritual struggles in pursuing his vision. Ultimately, it is a motivating story of a man who knows what he wants in life and is willing to sacrifice for it. The last chapter of the book indicates that Dettler will not sit on his laurels and stop dreaming of new things. Here’s looking forward to his next book on the ensuing goals he sets his heart on!

K.C. Finn

Hunting: You've Got to Be Kidding! by Kevin Aelred Dettler is an autobiography in the outdoor sports subgenre. It is suitable for an adult audience, especially those with a keen interest in hunting. As its title suggests, this collection of memoirs centers around the traditional American pastime of hunting, and in this author’s case, he does nothing by halves. Going for the coveted North American 29 Award from Safari Club International, Dettler shares some of the incredible stories of conquering big game all over the continent. We also get a deep insight into the mental and emotional toll that achieving such a rare feat takes.

Kevin Aelred Dettler has a passion for hunting that comes through in every moment of this lively autobiography. Whilst the work would not be suitable for anyone opposed to hunting, those with even a passing curiosity for the sport will learn a lot about the discipline and organization that it takes to become an award-winner with a big-name club. The narrative flows well and the work has a detailed and enthusiastic tone that made me feel as though a friend was writing to me about their adventures and exploits. The humourous moments and strange happenings in the wilds of nature were cinematically described and brought to life well. Overall, I would recommend Hunting: You've Got to Be Kidding! for enthusiasts of the sport and newcomers alike, who will certainly find it an engaging, amusing, and detailed read.

Diana Lopez

In the world, about 140 people have received the North American 29 Award from Safari Club International (SCI). This honor is for hunters who have legally collected 29 species of big game animals from within North America. Hunting: You've Got to Be Kidding! is the story of how Kevin Aelred Dettler achieved his goal of winning this recognition. He narrates amusing anecdotes of the most varied places, such as the Sonoran Desert in Mexico or trips to Canada and Alaska. He discusses all the problems he had to face, from acquiring the finances, the physical conditions, the equipment, and the appropriate guides. In this way, his autobiography conveys a fantastic adventure of challenges and perseverance.

Kevin Aelred Dettler has a great sense of humor. His narrative is easy to follow and highlights the irony of many life situations through his stories. He has had to adapt to different environments and people with other customs. You can tell he loves hard work because his conditions were difficult; he would wait for days without knowing if he would find his prey, without becoming discouraged. I was surprised to see how large some animals are in real life, so the photos with the bears and moose were my favorites. All the anecdotes include photographs, some of the beautiful scenery, and others showing hunting. Dettler shares a realistic perspective on the effort required to undertake travel of this nature. He talks about his mistakes and successes alike which ensures all the stories are interesting. Hunting: You've Got to Be Kidding! is an entertaining read, even if you don't know anything about hunting.

Astrid Iustulin

Are you ready to join Kevin Aelred Dettler, author of the memoir Hunting: You've Got to Be Kidding! on his long hunting journey? The story starts from the end when Dettler is looking for the last animal he needs to achieve his goal, which is to complete the collection of animals that will qualify him for the North American 29 Award. The animal Dettler is looking for is a polar bear but will he be able to find it? While waiting to discover how the story ends, Dettler tells us all the stages of his journey and takes us on an exciting adventure. We will see him hunting bears, caribou, and even a mountain lion as he moves throughout North America. We will also discover his humor and the problems and amazing things that happened along the way.

I did not expect this book to be so pleasant but Dettler tells the story of his outstanding goal memorably. I liked that he tells his adventures with humor, often focusing on the details and hilarious episodes that made him exclaim the words of the title "you've got to be kidding!" I also like that each story has its own specific aspects and difficulties and stood out for its extraordinary events. Hunting: You've Got to Be Kidding! is a great book for anyone passionate about hunting and I highly recommend it to hunters, especially but not necessarily, if they are interested in the North American 29 Award.