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Wobegon Boy by Garrison Keillor

Wobegon Boy (original 1997; edition 1999)

by Garrison Keillor

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916713,888 (3.35)19
Title:Wobegon Boy
Authors:Garrison Keillor
Info:Faber and Faber (1999), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Wobegon Boy by Garrison Keillor (1997)



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Read during Fall 2003

Sweetly charming and moving novel about John Tollefson, who leaves native Lake Wobegon for small town Upper New York State. There is much of late 80's yuppie life gently satirized with fresh vegetables and public radio and wood floors and upper class life in Manhattan but the subtle life revelations when John returns home for visits are the true story. After being so dissapointed by WLT, this was truly enjoyable read. Funny and charming.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
John Tollefson is the manager of an academic public radio station. He has an idyllic life that is boring him to tears. His job, his home, his relationships, all are going well - so well that he no longer feels like he is in the drivers seat. Coasting through everything his life lacks depth and more importantly, it lacks meaning. John, with the help of his can't-commit-to-marriage girlfriend Alida, sets out to make his life more interesting by opening a farm restaurant and other daring risks. John is perpetually guided by history, the life stories of his ancestors - a butcher, publisher, politician, among a wild cast of others, and a philosophical slant unlike any other. ( )
  SeriousGrace | May 21, 2010 |
Curious about Garrison Keillor, since I heard some of his stories years ago on the radio.A relaxed book with entertaining characters and a simple development of the main character. Charming slices of life. ( )
  mearso | Feb 1, 2010 |
The Lake Wobegon parts were by far the better sections of this novel... the storytelling, shaggy dog stories, and ambling narratives flowed easily here, while still revealing the emotional complexity of a man who grew up and left home and doesn't learn the man his father was until it's too late. The New York state parts were mostly funny for the public radio satire, but felt flat compared to the rest. The relationship with Alida was a cipher throughout.
  wademlee | Dec 27, 2008 |
If I understand the premise of the story, than it is supposed to describe how the values of a Mid Western Lutheran Boy hold up in a different setting. The error in this premise is that the main character never had the values of a mid western Lutheran boy. His values are the same as all those around him, and he is simply a reflections of the culture around him with a Minnesotan accent. He does have memories of his parents who are the ones who have the Lutheran values. John, the title character is somewhat pompous and condescending. He dubs those who do hold to "Lutheran " values ad "Dark Lutherans" To the authors credit, there are some very humorous moments in the story. That and the sections that deal with John going back for a funeral and learning more about his parents and grand parents are entertaining and keeps this story form falling into disappointing ( )
  morryb | Jun 5, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0670878073, Hardcover)

A decade after he first explored the small-town precincts of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, Garrison Keillor makes a comical return to his roots. Not that Wobegon Boy takes place entirely within Mist County. The narrator, John Tollefson, made an early exit from his hometown and has spent the last 20 years managing a college radio station in upstate New York. Here he seems to have put a healthy distance between himself and his Wobegonian past.

For the author, John's job is a handy pulpit, allowing him to fulminate against radio, New Age affectation, and campus politicking. Keillor remains a master of the cantankerous one-liner, yet there's a romance here, too--between John and a historian named Alida Freeman. And while Keillor can't resist roping Alida into his own pan-Scandinavian schtick--she's writing a scholarly study of a 19th-century Norwegian neuropath who administered high colonics to Lincoln himself--the love story is genuinely touching and gives the novel an extra emotional ballast.

So, too, does the magnetic pull of Lake Wobegon. John keeps describing life back in Minnesota as one long exercise in sensory (and emotional) deprivation: "We were not brought up to experience pleasure, so it doesn't register with us, like writing on glass with a pencil. Dullness is our stock-in-trade, dullness honed to its keenest edge." Nonetheless, he returns twice in the course of the novel, and his sojourns among the Lutherans are the source of not only comedy but home truths.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:13 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A comedy on John Tollefson, a 40-something bachelor from Minnesota working in a college in New York State as manager of its radio station. The college caters to academically challenged children of financially gifted parents. A spoof on academia.

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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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