Review Population 485 by Michael Perry, HarperCollins 2002, 234 pages
Citizen Reader’s latest Book Menage inspired me to check out this book from the library. I enjoyed it very much.
**** crickets ***
Oh, man, let’s try that again, shall we?
I’m a big fan of Citizen Reader’s nonfiction book blog and when I failed to read the books required of the latest Book Menage, I thought to myself “SO WHAT?” and decided that it was not really an obstacle to participating. The discussion questions were insightful and the intelligent positive comments had me hooked; I just had to get my hands on this book!
So I checked it out from the library and I enjoyed it very much …
Mr. Perry lives in a small town and is a writer. and oh what a writer, he is! He crafts a lovely metaphor. He writes about his job as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical responder – yep, that means intensity! and gore! and medical terminology!! it’s GOOD. And he writes about small town characters and small town ways and just miscellany about his small town and why he loves it.
He writes a bit about his family and his friends and about the full circle of life and death. and about what it means to be a part of a community. Given that one of my latest reads was about HAPPINESS, I must say that Perry’s book does a lot to contribute to how a sense of trust in your community adds to that sense of well-being where ever you may be. Laugh out loud funny, this book is heartwarming and heart-breaking, too.
Perry does tend to use some BIG words. You know — words that are multisyllabic that you don’t usually hear in conversation. If I had any complaints, it would be that I didn’t know all the words well enough to let myself jump right by them. Enjoy:
desultory – lacking a plan, purpose, or enthusiasm
otiose – “I did slap together a booklet of otiose homilies entitled How to Hypnotize a Chicken…” – serving no practical purpose or result
atavistic – “As a dyed-in-the-wool farm boy, I find Ihave an atavistic urge to poor-mouth anything more theoretical than a bag of feed.” – relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient orancestral
alacrity – brisk and cheerful readiness
palimpsest – something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form
abattoir – “Emerging from a relationship that ended in a way that simply brings to mind the word abattoir, ...” – a slaughterhouse
rattamacue – “The mamba loosed a final spasm, executed a triple rattamacue death dance down my anterior tibial ridge, then went still.” – [I couldn’t find this spelling; perhaps only one T? ratamacue]
biffy – A toilet; An outhouse
contrapuntal – “I crave a contrapuntal mix of shiftlessness and stability.” – of or in counterpoint
spavined – “I am getting hints – yes, even here in this spavined place – that if we work at it, we can learn to achieve stasis in the moment, even as time ripsaws by.” – a disorder of a horse’s hock
bathyscaph -“It seems the day always comes when the Significant Sweet Other says something, or casts a certain gaze, and as if someone bumped a toggle switch in the bathyscaph, all the oxygen shoots from the room.” – a manned submersible vessel of a kind used by the French deep-sea explorer Auguste Piccard
exculpate – “And so, when it comes to my marital phobias, let me exculpate my parents.” – show or declare that (someone) is not guilty of wrongdoing
THEN today! I was browsing the sales cart and saw the paperback – it’s a sign! I have to pass it on! To enter my book giveaway, please leave a comment here telling me anything personal about a small town you either live in now or lived in once, passed through, anything! Here’s my story: I had just moved to Tipton Missouri (pop approx 3000 according to 2000 census) and was signing up for utility service at the town office. When I tried to tell the clerk who I was, she already knew! She didn’t know my name but she knew the number and street of my new house address. IT TOTALLY FREAKED ME OUT. But she was very nice and I have to say, living in Tipton was a mighty special time in my life… Contest closes midnight Sunday August 23rd, 2009 EST and winner will be picked at random. Be sure I have a way to contact you (the WP comment sign in requires your e/m, yes?)