I read this story for a few reason: It was sitting around my house after my husband read it, I had heard of Michael Perry but had never read any of his stuff, Michael Perry is a Wisconsin author. So I though I’d give it a try.
Genre: Good question. Non-fiction small town humor. Is that a genre?
Blurb: (Goodreads) “All I wanted to do was fix my old pickup truck,” says Michael Perry. “That, and plant my garden. Then I met this woman. . . .” Truck: A Love Story recounts a year in which Perry struggles to grow his own food (“Seed catalogs are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than Enron and Penthouse combined”), live peaceably with his neighbors (one test-fires his black powder rifle in the alley), and sort out his love life. But along the way, he sets his hair on fire, is attacked by wild turkeys, takes a date to the fire department chicken dinner, and proposes marriage to a woman in New Orleans. As with Population: 485, much of the spirit of Truck: A Love Story may be found in the characters Perry meets: a one-eyed land surveyor, a paraplegic biker who rigs a sidecar so that his quadriplegic pal can ride along, a bartender who refuses to sell light beer, an enchanting woman who never existed, and half the staff of National Public Radio.
By turns hilarious and heartfelt, a tale that begins on a pile of sheep manure, detours to the Whitney Museum of American Art, and returns to the deer-hunting swamps of northern Wisconsin, Truck: A Love Story becomes a testament to the surprising and unintended consequences of love.1006.
What I liked: It was definitely funny but serious too. It was well written: nice flow, nice voice (mostly – more on that below), nice ending, accurate depiction of small town Wisconsin life, though I’m kind of purist when it comes to restorations – I usually just do furniture or home restoration, probably cheaper or more doable than trying to redo an old, old truck.
What I didn’t like: I was hinting at the fact that he has to modify his truck to restore it – I’d have tried to be as accurate as I could with replacement parts. The new seats in particular sound bogus to me (single racer type seats – or something like that. Don’t quote me). Would have to be a bench seat, hands down. The other thing that particularly bugged me was Perry’s use of “big” words, words you had trouble pronouncing let along understanding. Now, I’m not literary scholar, I admit that, but I don’t know anyone who knows, really knows all those words he used without having to look them up himself. Was he trying to impress someone? He doesn’t seem like that kind of guy. So why the big words? To educate his reading public? People who like trucks?! That seems very odd. I haven’t read any of his other books, but I’d think twice about doing it.