A Brief Review – Book #1

“Let me look at you.” She held me at arm’s length. “My, you are a feast to the eyes.”
She was the only person in the world who’d ever say such a thing to me. Nobody else considered me even a light snack to the eyes. Most people would consider me a light purgative to the eyes.

This was one of a hundred excerpts that made me laugh mid-commute while I read Lake Wobegon Summer, 1956 by Garrison Keillor. This book was a joy to read. I chose it because a local coffee shop I like names its sandwiches after popular authors, and I never order the Garrison Keillor because I feel guilty for not having read any of his work. The sandwich looks really good, so I went to the library.

It took me a few chapters to get into the swing of things with Gary, a pubescent teen in the middle of a slightly oppressive town in Minnesota, but once I did it was smooth sailing. It felt like watching an old tv show like Golden Girls: simple and funny but ultimately endearing. Gary is, if nothing else, a lovable goon who is observant, sexually confused, a (sort of) devout Lutheran and a fantastic writer. Reading this story, you get to spend a few days inside the head of this crazy character as he taunts his dorky older sister and imagines his deceased Grandpa watching him disapprovingly from Heaven and complaining about him to Jesus, among other things. His funny observations of the town, it’s “simple, Scandinavian people,” and everyone he comes across make this a worthwhile read.

I would recommend this if you can get down with the slow, syrupy summer days of the fifties that don’t really exist anymore. Actually, I was born in 1990 – I have no idea what life was like in the fifties. If you’re looking for a chuckle, and appreciate subtle humor, give this a try!

Also, this is the first book of my 2015 reading challenge (book by an author you’ve never read before), so buckle up 2015 I’m comin’ in hot!

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