back in grad school in 2004, i took a writing class, during which we analyzed memoirs and wrote our own memoir essays. one of the memoirs we had to read was michael perry’s “population 485,” which, i admit, i didn’t read much of because it was assigned.
isn’t that always the case.
well, fast forward about five years – grad school’s over, and reading is fun again. my mom and i are perusing barnes and noble in st cloud, and she says she has to check to see if there are any michael perry books, which she and my dad have started to read. we check the shelves, and i see “population 485” standing on its end, the cover familiar but the context slightly out of reach until it finally swims into focus.
i buy it again, probably for a much more reasonable price than the scsu bookstore.
i read it and love it. proceed operation: read all michael perry books. love every word. you know how charlie brown christmas music makes you feel? a little happy, a little sad, a little old, a little young, a little melancholy, a little hopeful? that’s how his writing makes me feel.
generally he’s a memoirist, but recently he’s been dipping into fiction, and “the jesus cow” is his first foray into adult fiction. it’s awesome to see everything you’ve absorbed from his memoirs come out in his fiction.
it keeps the plodding pace of everyday rural upper-midwest life (oh, don’t we all know how that is), with a surprising end that brings all the intertwined stories together. (i was completely surprised at the end!) for those unfamiliar with his writing, this might seem a little slow and local-yokel-esque; i would not start with this book.
if, however, you are familiar with his work, this is a great addition to his other pieces. i’m excited to see what he comes up with next.