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Off Main Street : barnstormers, prophets, and gatemouth's gator : essays
Michael Perry
Adult Nonfiction E169.04 .P466 2005

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Perry, who chronicled smalltown life in Population 451, collects some previously published essays for this countrified collection. The author likes to write about bighearted truckers, country and blues musicians, itinerant barnyard butchers and other such characters. As he puts it, "I reckon I'm a pickup-truck-coveting blue-collar capitalist"; a guy who "wouldn't know tapis vert from Diet Squirt." But the wholesome subject of America's heartland doesn't jibe with Perry's sometimes crotchety attitude. He writes of being annoyed when he's cut off in traffic by someone driving "one of those yappy little four-wheel drive pickups" sporting a "No Fear" decal. What would that guy know about fear, he wonders? The incident prompts Perry to recall a sugarcane hauler he met while hitchhiking in Belize, a man whose situation-he was poor and held a dangerous job-made him, Perry assumes, intimately acquainted with fear. The book brims with alternately thought-provoking and pointless ramblings like these, as Perry visits the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington with 270,000 motorcycle-riding war veterans, stays at a hotel in Belize City and overhears a prostitute in the room next to his, and experiences other adventures. Generally, however, Perry's hit-or-miss writing combined with his "been-there-done-that" attitude ("I've seen a bunch of territory with my backpack right behind me. Fifteen or sixteen countries, something like that") make for a wearisome reading experience. Agent, Lisa Bankoff. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Perry's girlfriend once told him to stop talking about becoming a writer and be one. Since then, he has published numerous essays and a hit indie memoir (Population: 485) about his experiences as a volunteer firefighter and EMT in his small Wisconsin hometown. Assembled here are 33 of his previously published essays about roadside curiosities, blemishes at book signings, country musicians, and tour buses. These observations go beyond the Wisconsin setting made famous in his first book: besides retrospective remarks about many of the earlier essays, Perry finds himself retracting several comments he had written about radio host Rush Limbaugh. In contrast, "Swelter" is a striking tribute to the youthful seduction of summer. Recommended for collections where Perry's memoir is popular and for larger regional public libraries.-Joyce Sparrow, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas Cty., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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