Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book 25 - Population: 485 by Michael Perry


This is a memoir, so don't be fooled. It's definitely not a novel. It's Michael Perry's collection of memories about his time as a volunteer firefighter/EMT in a small country town in Wisconsin. And it's mostly about firefighting and EMT work and NOT about small town life necessarily. As background, Michael Perry left his small community to attend college, where he got a degree in nrsing. When he returned, he elected to become a volunteer firefighter/EMT in the community where he was born and raised. It gave him a way to re-connect with the community that he had left and also, gave him a way to learn about and reintroduce himself to his former neighbors. I think that he was under the impression that people believed that he wouldn't return after leaving for college and so, he thought that this disproved them.

What I particularly loved was how Mr. Perry introduced his readers to the colorful characters that all small towns inevitably have. For instance, we meet a man that everyone affectionately calls "The Beagle" - a heavy man that chews tobacco and who has been an EMT/Firefighter since before the world was created. His descriptions were colorful and he really transports the reader to Wisconsin and to the scenes at which he attends. That being said, this memoir seems to follow a bit of a formulaic pattern: Perry strives to be authentic bt at the same time, he strives really hard to convince the reader that he's an educated writer as well, so he'll drop really big, million dollar, "College" words in order to remind s that we're reading something by someone who isn't only a bumpkin from the middle of nowhere. However, if that's the only complaint that I have, then it really isn't a complaint. The stories were interesting and wonderful and worth reading. Please enjoy!

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