Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon” as Want to Read:
Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  2,984 Ratings  ·  541 Reviews
Garrison Keillor makes his long- awaited return to Lake Wobegon with this New York Times bestseller

The first new Lake Wobegon novel in seven years is a cause for celebration. And Pontoon is nothing less than a spectacular return to form?replete with a bowling ball-urn, a hot-air balloon, giant duck decoys, a flying Elvis, and, most importantly, Wally?s pontoon boat. As th
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Penguin Books (first published September 1st 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pontoon, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Pontoon

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
The author led me through a magical tour of Lake Wobegon with all its colorful townsfolk. It's an enchanting small town where as expected, everyone knows each other. This glorious tale whisked me through the many lives and dramas that had come to play out in amusing fashion. It was an enjoyable ride that left me with a "good feel" in my stomach as only Garrison Keillor could provide. in the end, I was sorry to leave.
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
Dec 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel Bird
Jul 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Kathleen Valentine
There's just nobody like Garrison Keillor! This book has everything we love about Lake Wobegon--a feisty old lady with a secret life who wants her ashes to be buried in a bowling ball; a goofy bride who made a fortune in aromatherapy for pets; a disgruntled daughter with a drinking problem; warring siblings and visiting Danish clergy. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty! When the ridiculously lavish wedding is called off, but not all the participants are informed, and it collides with the inter ...more
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Dec 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Review of the Audiobook

Published by HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books in 2007
Read by Garrison Keillor
Duration: 8 hours, 22 minutes

Evelyn Peterson is the town iconoclast in many ways. She is an active member of many town institutions, but she also is one of the few that questions any of the cherished beliefs of the town of Lake Wobegon. But, she is also quite elderly and she has passed away in bed.

Her daughter Barbara, a cafeteria lunch lady and often the opposite of her mother
James McIntosh
In only read a few chapters into this book, so I will not rate it or add a detailed review. I just couldn't get into it. I think a part of it was that I was expecting it to be more like what I've heard on Keillor's radio show before he retired. For example, the book is more sexual than the show. Also, I find myself more in the middle of the messages and personalities of the book. Some of it appealed to me with my beliefs, but a lot if it did not. So I only made it a few chapters in.
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Oct 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Tom Schulte
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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...
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is filled with some truly classic humor and a few extremely memorable characters. Evelyn, for one, around whose funeral the book focuses, turns out to be much more complex and surprising than her neighbors in Lake Wobegon could have ever imagined. In letters to her daughter, she quips some very ponderous thoughts. The climax of the entire story occurs during Evelyn's non-traditional memorial service, which becomes more ridden with errors than one can imagine, truly laugh out loud hilar ...more
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pontoon - a gentle read

Read this for my Readers' Advisory Library course exploring the genre 'gentle reads'. There was little to no profanity and some mentions of sex which surprised me for this genre.

The Book centers around a character's death and the lives surrounding this person all settled in this tiny town populated mostly with Lutherans.

It was full of exposition and some humor. Overall, this isn't one of my favorite genres, but I'm glad I took a look at this genre and this particular aut
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?
May 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sara Jacobson
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you can, you should listen to this book. I'm sure it's funny to read, but it's even better when Keillor reads it. As a Minnesotan, I find so many things to relate to in his stories that weave together. But I think everyone can relate at some level.
Ann Tracy
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ridiculously funny.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Garrison Keillor's voice is the only thing that can save this depressing drudgery. And, in the end, it didn't.
May 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cathy Garrard
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: Pontoon 1 1 Nov 26, 2013 02:54PM  
  • Gardenias
  • Miss Darcy Falls in Love
  • The Lighthouse Road (Eide Family, #1)
  • The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes
  • 100 Best-Loved Poems
  • Almost an Evening
  • The Sacred Stone (The Medieval Murderers, #6)
  • The Trials of Rumpole
  • The Pig Comes to Dinner
  • The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives
  • Young Men and Fire
  • Mulliner Nights
  • Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer
  • Salvation Lake (Leo Waterman, #9)
  • The Terror of St. Trinian's and Other Drawings
  • Doonesbury Deluxe: Selected Glances Askance
  • Oh! to be in England
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.
More about Garrison Keillor...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“You get old and you realize there are no answers, just stories.” 270 likes
“Evelyn was an insomniac so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that.” 145 likes
More quotes…