Book: Visiting Tom: A Man, A Highway and the Road to Roughneck Grace by Michael Perry
Genre: NF Memoir
For: TLC Blog Tour
A few years ago I read and reviewed Coop, another one of Michael Perry's books. And I loved it. One of my favorite books of all time I would have to say. So of course when approached about reviewing this one, I couldn't pass it up!
Michael Perry is one of those authors that has such a unique style of writing as to be able to capture the very perfect moments of every day life. This book is about nothing except visiting his old farmer neighbor and the stories the farmer tells every time he goes over. He then meshes it with what's going on in his own life (namely a fight with the county about a road issue) and the two somewhere somehow connect.
It's so simple, and yet, the stories are so profound and so meaningful and so heart warming. I love it. It makes me want to write this way and tell the stories of my own grandparents. And I've probably said that before, but it does. I wish I could do it. I wish I could figure out this writing thing to the point that I can take everyday yet profound memories and turn them into sweet and awesome essays.
Anyway, back to Tom. He lives there next to the author on the farm he grew up on. However, once upon a time, they wanted to bring a freeway right through his property! And so they did, totally cutting his farm in half. So the freeway now barrels right on through, right next to his house. It's an interestingly sad tale, one that makes this farmer crazy and yet, he has dealt with it, just as we have to deal with the crap life sometimes gives us.
But there's more. Stories about shooting canons, saving the silo, courting his wife, teaching his kids, building this crazy thing and that crazy thing, the crow that they tamed, the fox that came in the house once, and so on and so on and so on.
Then there's the relationship between him and his wife. One time, he gets sick and we see her taking care of him. And then she gets sick and we see him taking care of her. In fact she doesn't have long to live and once, we see him leaning down to her and saying, "60 years, just one more year and we've made it!" You see, they had the goal to last until they've been married 60 years.... and they are determined to get there. Makes you a little weepy, yes?
If you love these sort of small town America, farming, family, tender stories, you'll love this one....
Bottom line: ... and I loved it.
For other reviews, click on this link to other bloggers featuring this book for the tour.
For more about the author, a fascinating guy I'm thinking, head on over to his website.
And here's the awesome trailer featuring none other than Tom himself: