A delightful mix of humor and pathos, touching the heart and tickling the funny bone.

OFF MAIN STREET

BARNSTORMERS, PROPHETS AND GATEMOUTH’S GATOR

Thirty-three previously published essays ruminating on the author’s childhood and painting word portraits of unique people he’s met.

Some of the pieces appeared in the two collections Perry self-published before HarperCollins released his memoir of life as a volunteer fireman in his Wisconsin hometown (Population 485, 2002); others appeared in various, generally very-small-circulation periodicals. They deserve wider release: Perry has a real talent for mining quirky humor from even the most mundane situations, and humor isn’t his only strength. He may write about Mrs. Oregon’s eyebrows looking as if they’d been applied with motor oil, but he also poignantly depicts such memorable figures as Mack Most, a meat-market worker whose six-year-old daughter experiences kidney failure. Perry’s description of the grinning slaughterhouse veteran, who has killed untold numbers of animals, leaves a lasting impression, as does his funny tale of dismantling Big Boy, the grinning, chubby-cheeked statue that adorned the front of many a Big Boy restaurant. This little vignette quite naturally leads to a discussion of other outsized restaurant creations, such as the 50-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Meanwhile, lying somewhere in tone between the gritty realism of the story on Mack Most and the shaggy-dog absurdity of the Big Boy piece is a perceptive profile of Aaron Tippin, a country singer obsessed with trucks who has quite an extensive collection of them. Aaron’s recollections of how he acquired each truck are warm and funny, and Perry perfectly conveys the singer’s character.

A delightful mix of humor and pathos, touching the heart and tickling the funny bone.

Pub Date: April 15, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-075550-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2005

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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