22 March 2008

Truck: A Love Story

Meg and I are book people; our apartment has piles of books everywhere. A recent addition to our blog is a Books We are Reading widget, in the left sidebar. If any of you see a book you're interested in and would like a preview, just give us a shout.

A while back we got an anonymous comment from someone who liked our blog and wanted to send us a copy of their book. Well, free books are good by us, so we emailed the guy and said we were interested. A bit later we got a big fat envelope in the mail and found this inside:

We both took turns reading the book and I volunteered to post a review to both show our appreciation and to share with you a truly good read. Thanks Mike.

The official Future House Farm book review:

Michael Perry’s Truck: A Love Story is a branching narrative that, in the time it takes to revitalize a 1951 International Harvester, explores the simple complexities of a midwest man in love. After reading his fetching novel I imagined him to be the type of fellow that leaves a key under the mat but never bothers to lock the door. He is a man who weeps at a sad song and can butcher a deer. By the end he leaves you feeling so comfortable and included that it would be possible to knock on his door unannounced and pick up where he left off. However, his approachability should not be mistaken for basic or elementary. His rolling images are generous, but they lay claim to a specific attention.

I admit that it took me about fifteen pages to understand the way Perry was going to present his story. Although the surface story is presented in monthly chapters, he breaks the predictability of a linear narrative with curious branching tales suitable for a front porch in a rural town. He shares smaller and sometimes more private stories from his growing up, which bridges to a richer understanding of why he is the way he is. At times it does feel that he may be going entirely out of his way to paint himself as a softy with a high powered rifle, but when he slips into the story of his unified laundry theory or the bachelor recipe board to explain the lengths he will go to eliminate life’s hassles, I understand that he really could be that Second Amendment sentimental.

If you’re looking for something with action, mystery, or complex plot twists, this is not the book you’re looking for. The narrative does have a level of sophistication worthy to entertain an academic, but the story is easy enough to follow for even the most sporadic of reading schedules. If a slow private talk is the read you desire, then this is a must for your reading list. Amidst the pages of rebuilding a truck and falling in love you’ll find yourself, surprisingly, learning a thing or two about gardening, rural living, and how to relax the right way.


Ali said...

I gave that book to Dan for Christmas, and he really enjoyed it. Before I had a chance to read it, he shipped it off to his dad, who also loved it.

Maybe I'll get it back when we next travel to visit them in NY.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great read, Kelly! And who wouldn't love a red truck?! Thanks for sharing!

Kelly said...

It definitely is a book that should make the rounds. I think it took me about a week to read on the train, so it isn't really taxing for time.

By the way, I had my first interview yesterday for a full time teaching gig. The answers I gave them were honest and I feel they got a good idea of the type of teacher I am.

Please let me know if you read the book, because your comment highlights a very interesting reaction Meg and I had to the book. I don't want to say what it is because I don't want to spoil it for you.