What can I say about this beautiful treasure Actually, there s quite a bit I want to quote twice from the book first from the first chapter, second from the final chapter These are two of my favorite passages 1 She is crying out, and we are doing what we can, but she feels death pressing at her chest She tells us this, and we deny it, tell her no, no, help is on the way.
2 Somewhere on I 80, still in Iowa, west bound, mile marker 13, a little overpass, a blackbird teeters on a wire, flutters against the crosswind, and just as we pass beneath, he allows himself to be swept aloft and I think, these are the moments that fine tune the spin of the earth.
Thematically, Perry writes of the intimacies evident in all relationships between humans Be that neighborly, romantically, professionally In the end, we are all willing and able to help those in need becausein the end, we just might need their help when our time comes.
I live in a small N.
E town, but no I am not a member of the volunteer FD or an EMT I do own a scanner like a good many people in town and rely on the services of my neighbors who answer their pagers I feel secure knowing who they are and that they carry pagers I do breath a sigh of relief when they show at a scene and I can turn a situation over to them.
Perry is an amazing observer and who paints his people, especially himself and his family, and their landscape with a fine hand The last chapter of the book Sarah I found poignant, but not maudelin, and reread several times Finishingthe book was like finishing a cup of coffee and natter with a good friend.
The layout of the book within each chapter is simply a series of humerous vignettes, or parts of one, alternating with Perry s take on life whether in a small town or in the general scheme.
Unfortunately, I found some of Perry s alternate takes and similes a bit too erudite, and at times, the vocabulary, even sophomoric The writing, in these instances, could have been a bit lean and mean.
However, what kept me going through the book was that Perry, in my opinion, gets the takes good most of the time The one on sense of place is almost Benedictan in its outlook, while sleeping in the woods could be Buddist in its outlook.
While I am not going to rush out and buy several dozen copies of this book to distribute to my firefighter friends, I will look forward to hearing about and reading of Michael Perry s writings.
I bought this book as a Christmas gift for my sister She is an EMT in Tioga County in the wilderness of Pennsylvania where we both grew up I thought she would enjoy reading the stories of a fellow small town EMT Like the author I grew up in a small town then left for the job opportunities and cultural attractions of living in the big city Unlike the author I have never returned but my sister and our family still live there The night I purchased the book I skimmed through the pages, was interested and started from the beginning The stories and narrative said a lot about living in a small town that is slowly dying, and the closeness of a family trying to make a difference The joy and sorrow of survival and death made the book an emotional experience and I was thoroughly hooked I stayed up all night and finished the book over breakfast The ending of the book is especially well done and left me craving for what happened after I hope the author writes a sequel as I really want to know how his life faired There is a made for TV movie in here if not a feature How did my sister like it She also stayed up all night reading it and it is now circulating through her volunteer fire department in the mountains of Pennsylvania I bought a copy of my own to read again during a snowy weekend in January.
However, not all the book is about that To prove his erudition, Perry salts his book with historical information he cannot make interesting compared to his central subject These end up looking like he s marking time through this short book because he doesn t have anecdotes enough to fill it One of his asides about Emperor Trajan, however, was trenchant Also, little redundancies from chapter to chapter reveal how this book was stitched together out of separate articles or essays either it should have stayed an essay collection, or the editing should have been done carefully And occasionally Perry s macho poet stylings can be a bit precious.
All in all, though, Perry s book is worth a look It is a quick read, and Perry can turn a phrase well Most importantly, nothing else I have seen captures the feeling of being a small town volunteer like Population 485 Writing from Population 633, I salute the book.