The title of this book is slightly misleading in that it implies Michael Perry will introduce the reader to a rich, quirky swath of characters who inhabit a very small town. While there are a few folks who shine through, such as Beagle the cock-eyed firefighter, [i]Population: 485[/i] is mostly a detailed account of what goes into being a volunteer firefighter. For that, I appreciated it as this...more
Michael Perry's ability to put into words the people, situations and feelings he encounters is beautiful. I love the area he's from, and it reminds me of the time I spent in Warroad, Minnesota. My favorite paragraph describes his predicament of being a dyed-in-the-wool hick from a small town, but also having the heart and mind of a writer...more
And I loved Population: 485 too! Writers that can hold a conversation with you, make you laugh, and bring on a tear or two are rarefied in my mind. He's very relate-able, and I think even if I wasn't from a rural small town I'd still identify with his portrayal of people and the way he weaves the everyday with musings abo...more
Perry's thoughtful nature, observations and stories left me laughing out loud (literally), crying and walking away from the finished book with a different view of being "stuck" in Wisconsin. Simply noticing more and enjoying the vast array of people who are here in this cold climate with me.
The book lacks a focus. Even a memoir has some kind of focus but this tried to do too much. The humor was strained. Things that I thought ought to be laugh-out-loud funny were only slightly amusing. He didn't seem to know how to set up his jokes efficiently and humorously.
Mostly I found this a bit depressing. So many of the experiences that he writes about s...more
As I read this book, I felt a lot of things. Sadness, happin...more
Toward the end of the book I was noticing the lack of romance in this quick read. Ah, but then he lets us know where he stands with regard to that just before ending the book in a ver...more
At the same time that Perry is juxtaposing opposites, sometimes he does...more
"Summer here comes on like a zaftig hippie chick, jazzed on chlorophyll and flinging fistfuls of butterflies to the sun."
"I tend to run at night. The idea of running in the morning is repulsive, and I retain strong reservations about anyone who launches their day with briskness of any sort, let alone an alacritous jog."
"Commonalitis of spirit and pretension abound. The man in the Hooters cap and the woman with the NPR tote bag are not promoting restaurants and radio. NRA decals a...more
Aside from a strong loyalty to Wisconsin, Perry gives us something new- a small town from the perspective of an ambulance driver. I couldn't put the book down partly because of morbid curiosity and partly because of great affe...more
Not many firefighters are dedicated to the literary tradition of writing, so it isn’t easy to find such a talen...more
The 13 chapters of Population 485 read like 13 long form magazine essays loosely tethered around the theme of rural Wisconsin life told from the perspective of a volunteer fire fighter/first responder. Unfortunately, despite my love and bias towards all things Wisconsin, this book never captured me. In part, I felt like I never picked up on the rhythm of Perry’s writing; his prose teeters on the edge of aiming to be poetic, especially when talking about the rural environment, e.g. the rolling fi...more
Perry’s bestselling memoirs include Population 485, Truck: A Love Story, Coop, and Visiting Tom. Raised on a small Midwestern dairy farm, Perry put himself through nursing school while working on a ranch in Wyoming, then wound up writing by happy accident. He lives with his wife and two da...more