Doreen Fritz's Reviews > Liberty

Liberty by Garrison Keillor
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Nov 04, 11

Read in November, 2011

Having just enjoyed an evening listening to Keillor's mellow voice tell stories on stage, I went out and got a couple of his books from the library. His voice emerges from the pages of this novel -- telling about good-hearted, hard-working people in a small Minnesota town that embraces "family values". Clint is the main character. A 60-year-old auto mechanic, he has for 6 years been the chairman of the committee that organizes Lake Wobegon's big 4th of July parade (it made it onto a CNN broadcast last year!). But now some on the committee want to evict Clint, feeling he's too autocratic. And he himself is in the midst of a full-blown middle-age-crisis: he has wasted his life in this small-minded dead-end town... should have stayed in California and gone to art school after he got out of the Navy instead of listening to his parents and coming back to marry Irene and getting sucked into his dad's car dealership that's going under now and his brother Clarence wants him to buy him out so that HE can go retire in Florida...kids are all gone and now he has nothing to show for his years of sacrifice and work. And there is this beautiful young yoga instructor who thinks that Clint is wonderful. They've met for a rendezvous, and now she wants him to run off to California with him. He gets a do-over!

This was a light and funny read, with many recognizable characters (yes, they live in big cities, too -- not just in small towns!). I was somewhat taken aback by the language (explicit sexual descriptions), since I think of Keillor as a "folksy" writer. Would be interested to hear from middle-aged men whether they feel Clint's experiences are true to life or exaggerated.

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