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Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon
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Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  2,262 ratings  ·  436 reviews
A novel about courage and transformation in a town stuck in its ways, Pontoon is a heartfelt and comic work by the host and writer of public radios A Prairie Home Companion, and one of the greatest modern storytellers.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Viking Adult (first published September 1st 2007)
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Collin
Jan 28, 2008 Collin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers of light fiction. It's a fast read.
I'm a huge fan of Keillor and his radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. My favorite weekly piece from the show is The News from Lake Wobegon. Keillor has written (I think) a few books on the fictional Minnesota town that lies somewhere between the Twin Cities and St. Cloud.

The stories are reflective, often funny and always very moving. Keillor is a fascinating storyteller, and his voice aches with nostalgia. When my aunt gave me Pontoon, I was excited to read a long story about the town, rather
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Andrew
A schizophrenic little title, feeling somewhat like it was written by the lovechild of Jack Kerouac and Martha Stewart, Pontoon is a dryly hysterical story from NPR's very own Garrison Keillor. I'd never read anything of his before, only heard his radio show, and was surprised to find how smoothly the transition from one medium to the next went. The writing style is suited to his manner of speech perfectly, and it's easy to hear Garrison filling in for your standard inner narrator without much e ...more
Joy H.
This audio-CD of Garrison Keillor's novel, _PONTOON_, is priceless! I'm having such a good time listening to it. Garrison Keillor's dry delivery makes the story so funny that I doubt if reading the book could be more amusing.

Keillor's character development is delightful. His description of each character's outlook on life makes me smile broadly. As I listen, I recognize some of my own ideas about life and that makes it all the more fun.

Although I tend to avoid audio versions because my mind wand
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Tammie McElligott
As a fan of Keillor's radio show I thought I'd give his novel a try. I'm also a Lutheran who always giggles at his references of "Lutheran church life."

The story has one of the best first lines:

Evelyn was an insomniac so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that.

How great of a starter is that? The story tells about a daughter coming home and finding her mother has died. She quickly learns her mother had a few secrets and instructions on how to proceed with the funeral.

In add
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Mora
I love Garrison Keillor so he's getting 5 stars no matter what. So far this book is great, although the humor you get in his radio show doesn't come across the same way. I guess that's bound to happen when you change mediums.

The book is about carpe diem. Living your life to the fullest because life is short. It's based around this woman's funeral and how her family discovers this other life she lived where she was a free spirit. Traveling places with her boyfriend at the age of 70 or something.
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Irene
I simply can not capture the magic and humor conveyed by Keillor as he tells a story whenI am reading those same words on a page.
Uncle
Small towns occupy a special place in American (and Canadian) literature. Sentimentalists tend to idealize them as last refuges of homespun warmth and wisdom. Satirists, on the other hand, tend to view them as suffocating and oppressive cultural wastelands.

I have never read a book by Garrison Keillor, yet I am quite familiar with his broadcasts, etc. I had certain assumptions about Keillor's world of the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon. I assumed it would be a safe and kind place, thou
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Antof9
I remember watching the movie Prairie Home Companion, and being surprised that what I perceived as "wholesome" was really just "small town", and coming to the realization that "small town" does not equal "clean". So not only is there a surprising bit of crude in this one, but the beginning was also very reminiscent of that movie. However, it's also got a quirky charm, and was fun enough to keep me entertained.

I think one of the reasons I liked this one is because I lived in North Dakota for a ha
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Rachel Bird
My dad used to play Garrison Keillor tapes for our family when we went on our car trips. My brother and I loved them--the Living Flag story where everyone in town has to be involved to get it done but then nobody can see it so they have to take turns going up to the top of the hospital to get a look, the over-dramatized story of Jim the Ant, the African safari gone awry. Keillor's voice was soothing and strong. We clung to his deep breaths, not being able to wait for what was next.

I had never re
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Annie
Oct 19, 2007 Annie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: humor fans
From Booklist
When the angel of death came for Evelyn Peterson, she didn't know that Debbie Detmer would be back in Lake Wobegon for the first time in ages to be married, kinda, in a big lakeside ceremony on a pontoon boat with, among other things, a parachuting Elvis impersonator and a hot-air balloon—all on the day Evelyn's memorial, also at the lake, would be held. Of course, how could she know that? Nobody else in town knew Debbie was coming, except for her parents, and given how Walter's bee
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Tom Schulte
Keillor impresses the hell out of with this creative, original word play and droll humour that seems to spring effortlessly, naturally, and eternally as resident historian and reported of Lake Woebegone. Parts of this reminds me of what I like most of Tom Robbins. Keillor, however, so constantly and continually spins ou tthe witticisms that at times it threatens to be tiring - I just have to set the book down for a bit and savor before I forget the impressions...
Laura
If you are a fan of Garrison Keillor, or even if you've just heard of him before, listen to this book. Keillor does a wonderful job of setting up the "punchline" of this book. I don't want to give too much away and tell you what happens, but I will say it is both unexpected and exactly what you thought could happen. Keillor is a truly gifted storyteller and writer, which this book makes apparent. Read it for the flawed but loveable characters, the oddball plot, and the criticism of the Midwest ( ...more
Carol
Yes, I listen to good old Garrison Keillor as I drove one hour to and from my first job (graduated with a MFA degree) and how wonderful it was to work from 4pm to 12 midnight, yet get to listen to Garrison Keillor on the radio while typesetting ("old school") to meet deadlines.

Evelyn, a leggy, energetic beauty with a mind of her own—kicked up her heels after divorcing her morose husband of 40 years, traveled and raised hell and took up with old boyfriend Raoul (aka TV’s “Yonny Yonson of the Yung
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Naila Moon
I remember my Mom talking about Lake Wobegon. Being a kid, I thought it was an actual place. I never knew that the town was a made up place by this author.

I found this book at my local library under the humor section and checked it out. Humor indeed!
I found myself chuckling at the crazy memorial that included a green bowling ball of all things. I also laughed in the wake of other things that happened.

I was totally immersed in the people of Lake Wobegon and have known a few people like them. I c
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Janice
a very dangerous book ... I fell out of bed laughing

a memorial service and wedding gone awry ... the perfect ending brought a group of Lutheran pastors from Denmark

makes me want to go to the video shop and rent the movie ... can't remember the name, but there was Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin (they're mentioned in this book as well)
Joshua
Apr 13, 2008 Joshua rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Patricia
Garrison Keillor has the knack of revealing the inner lives of very ordinary people in a way that makes them seem most extraordinary. After reading this book I found myself looking at my neighbors and workmates in a new light; wondering if they, too, could be hiding an interesting life behind the veneer they present others.
Susan
Anyone who loves Prairie Home Companion (radio show) will enjoy Pontoon. In typical Keillor storytelling tone, it meanders heartland style, rambling from unique personalities to oddball occurrences until it concludes in a hilarious ending that you should have seen coming but didn't! All that’s missing is a piece of rhubarb pie!
Adam
A great read for anyone who likes a good yarn. Garrison Keillor is just a wonderful storyteller; his writing is great (this book has some of the best first lines I've ever read) and his character development even better.
Rhona
I love just about anything by Garrison Keillor. It seems he's been on a pontoon kick lately but that's ok. I love it when an author makes me laugh out loud, and there are plenty of times I did that with this book.
Lisa
I love Garrison Keillor.... and I could listen to him read anything! In fact, it's a dream of mine to hear him read my fiction. I guess I'd have to submit it to him for consideration first, though, wouldn't I?
Christine
Anyone who enjoys Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion would enjoy this. Some of his other books have been dry and boring and I put them down and never finished them, but this one's a keeper.
Fran
May 21, 2008 Fran rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all Garrison Keillor/ Lake Woebegone fans
Recommended to Fran by: Barnes and Noble had it cheap
Great if you are a Garrison Keillor fan. I was reading it in the car with my 3 year old grandson and I was laughing so hard that he started laughing too. That's high praise indeed.
Andrea Doria
Some of Keillor's novels are a bit dark, but this one is like an extended version of News from Lake Wobegon (NFLW). It definitely has a plot, with a few main characters that are not familiar to me from NFLW, and some minor characters I've met before. Some of the scenes are over the top, what with a paragliding teenager, parachuting Elvis, twenty visiting Danish pastors on a sinking boat, etc., but that's fine with me. And no one could have read this better than GK himself.

If I've had a stressfu
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Cathy Garrard
I highly recommend if you enjoy Keillor's radio show. A quick read with hilarious characters and a well-woven plot...would make a great movie.
Coleen
(3.5 stars) Pontoon begins with the death of an elderly woman living in Lake Wobegon. It ends with the woman's memorial service, and in between the reader catches a glimpse of various happenings in the town, many of them centering around her daughter & her coping mechanisms following her mother's death.

I think the jury is still out regarding my feelings for Garrison Keillor's writing. This is my second read of his, both having been on audio. While for the most part I enjoy the way he can exp
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Tess Mertens-Johnson
A mug of hot cocoa, a warm blanket on a cozy couch, a crisp fall day. These are the comfort feelings I get when I read anything by Garrison Keilor. Many nights I would lay awake in bed listening the "The Prairie Home Companion" coming out of my radio form the Fitzgerald Theater and yearn for a simpler time.
I live in Prior Lake, MN, one of the over 10,000 Lake Wobegons in MN. Garrison Keilor writes of the fictional Lake Wobegon, as Debbie states in the book "I like it here. You don't have to be w
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Elaine
Feb 22, 2009 Elaine marked it as started-reading-but-didn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one at all
Recommended to Elaine by: The author was mentioned on the cover of a decent author.
Shelves: kindle
The first chapter was hilarious!

Okay, further on in the book - I'm going to be starting chapter 5. Although there are some lines that are funny, I don't like the author's writing style. It's a book that I'm not sure I'll want to wade through. There might be too much sludge.

THIS BOOK GETS ZERO STARS

The book starts with what I thought was the main character, Evelyn, I think her name was. She quickly meets her demise in the first chapter where we also meet her daughter Barbara. We read so much me
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Oleg Kagan
"Pontoon" is characteristic of Garrison Keillor's other Lake Wobegon works except for its novel length. On one hand, it's pleasant to get a longer slice of life in the town where the children are above-average, on the other hand diving deep into the lives of some of the characters in "Pontoon" started to become a bit of a downer. About 3/4s through the book, I began to think that I certainly didn't want to be a Lutheran of Norwegian descent living in the Northern-Midwest. Though the sour mood re ...more
Skyring
Jumped on this one at the academic remainders shop. I also picked up a copy of The Frigate Surprise at half price.

Classic Keillor. Heavily focussed on personality as part of a community, his characters are all slightly apart from what is expected of them. Inwardly they rebel, outwardly they go to church and join the quilting circle. Count the days, count the lovers, families are not quite the tidy basket of spouses and offspring they seem.

His later books seem a little more explicit in terms of s
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Kathleen Hagen
Pontoon, by Garrison Keillor, narrated by Garrison Keillor, produced by Highbridge Audio, downloaded from audible.com.

We’re in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, famous from Keillor’s Saturday night radio program “A Prairie Home Companion.” Two different events are occurring in Lake Wobegon. First, the funeral of Evelyn Peterson-well a small memorial program, for Evelyn Peterson. Evelyn died in her sleep, and was found by her daughter, Barbara, the next morning. Barbara, when going through Evelyn’s things
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Garrison Keillor (born Gary Edward Keillor on August 7, 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota) is an American author, storyteller, humorist, columnist, musician, satirist, and radio personality. He is known as host of the Minnesota Public Radio show "A Prairie Home Companion".

Keillor was born in Anoka, Minnesota, the son of Grace Ruth (née Denham) and John Philip Keillor, who was a carpenter and postal worker.
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“You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.” 216 likes
“Evelyn was an insomniac so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that.” 136 likes
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