June 2, 2010
Michael Perry: Ladies' Man
I don't mean to say that Michael Perry is chasing the ladies, rather, that he's a writer women (or women like me) would enjoy reading. I've mentioned that I have trouble reading books written by men because they sometimes, not always, on occasion, sound like they're trying to prove themselves. You don't have to prove anything to me, Mister. I know. I know. It's a huge generalization, and women have those moments, too. And here's a book to prove me wrong.
I just finished reading Perry's non-fiction book, Truck: A Love Story. Sparkle Mama's husband lent it to me and said he thought I'd like it. I wrongly assumed from the title that it was about a man in love with his truck, which it is, partly, but there's a woman in there, too.
The book loosely follows Perry's attempt to restore his 1951 International Harvester Pickup-- not something I would usually choose to read, but you know how sometimes you're listening to a really good radio program, maybe Ira Glass is interviewing someone, and midway through the show you think: Who knew hook worms could be so interesting? Perry's book is kind of like that.
The sections that aren't about the truck are about his garden, his battle against the squirrels, his work as a nurse, the people and town he loves, deer hunting, and his attempt to find a good woman who will put up with his quirky ways.
I found myself rooting for Perry in all of his endeavors, with maybe the exception of deer hunting, where I was hoping he'd write that in the end he couldn't shoot the deer. That didn't happen. But hey, I've eaten more than my share of meat, and I didn't even have the decency to do the ugly work.
There are many lines in the book that rang true for me: Perry's thoughts about marriage, trying to find that person with the right amount of quirkiness, bringing a family together, barbecued chicken.
I've just started reading the sequel, Coop: A Family, A Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg. In the first few pages Perry laments for a while about moving out of the town he loves, and I was right there with him, daydreaming about my old Alameda town. Then Perry reminds himself that there are people all over the world who are removed from their homes forcibly while he, "just moved down the road a piece."
I might as well have smacked myself upside the head.
Posted by Patricia Caspers at 9:10 PM