Regular-guy memoirist Casey (Tales from the Granite Orchard, 2011) presents readers with the stories of his life and times.
In a series of only vaguely chronological and largely self-contained chapters, Casey offers readers his versions of the funny stories and personal folklore that accumulate over the years in most families. Here are his most cherished memories of growing up in typical American suburbia; here is a doomed attempt to learn the fine art of public speaking; here are his strongest impressions of his distant, problematic father; here are his most embarrassing anecdotes about his children and funny stories revolving around his first wife (comments about his second, current wife are rarer and almost entirely reverential). He recounts being made manager of a New York funeral parlor, sweet-to-recall high school days in the 1950s, a persistent penchant for golf in inclement weather and a tense-but-amusing encounter with a tiger shark off Hilton Head. All of these stories have obviously been told many times—they likely came to Casey’s co-writer Mathewson with much of their polish and all of their punch lines already in place. Some skirt sadness, but the vast majority aren’t even bittersweet—this is a warm, happy book (the cover features a simple infusion of sunlight) presided over by Casey’s upbeat, sarcastic, utterly likable persona. “Sometimes I get a little help in the gentle art of creative failure,” Casey writes at one point, but although that tone of approachable self-mockery is present throughout, almost none of this material fails. Children are born, grow up and make their father proud (each one of them gets a separate dedication), and Casey wisecracks and horses around throughout it all, with only occasional stabs at weightier matters (almost always evoked by his parents).
A funny, page-turning collection of family highlights, recounted by a genial showman.