Sean Kottke's Reviews > Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting

Coop by Michael  Perry
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's review
Jan 13, 2010

bookshelves: adult-recreational, 2012

I loved Michael Perry's previous memoir, Truck, a memoir of a single year in which Perry rehabs a classic truck, begins gardening, and finds true love. He's a virtuoso with the English language, and I found his story of Everyman intellectualism in a small town highly relatable. Perry revealed many secrets of the male mind that a lot of sensitive and sensible guys would probably not want to fess up to (but they're there; trust me!). This volume started promisingly enough: setting up the one-year-challenge of raising animals and children and spinning amusing, verbose, and amusingly verbose anecdotes of first forays into the farming life and parenting in a blended family. However, the book spends a lot of time shuttling between past and present, becoming a memoir of a childhood in rural Wisconsin in the mid-to-late 20th century. Perry the adult trying (somewhat haplessly) to figure out the secrets of a truck from his father's generation is a lot more relatable and entertaining to me than Perry the child living out coming of age anecdotes that resemble my father's escapades. In this case, it's not the book; it's me.

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