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Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road…

Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace

by Michael Perry

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13013140,839 (4.13)3



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I don't want to imply this book's author does not have fine woodsmith skills. He does. Yet, I was never fully grabbed by his account. Others have described the book as part memoir and part character study. I can buy that to a certain extent, but I would rather say it's three short stories spread out in tandem across the entire narrative. One part is the author's account of his neighbor, Tom. Clearly, the author has great respect for Tom, as well he should. What less observant people may describe as simple country fellow, is honored with the author's fine telling of Tom's skills, intellect, perseverance, and much, much more. Tom is really quite a guy. And he's right there being passed by everyday my hundreds if not thousands of people speeding by his farm in their cars and trucks, oblivious to his great attributes. This book is also a bit of a saga of the author fighting his own Tom-like battle with local government over a less than sensible "improvement" to his community. Ultimately, this book is a man's memoir of his lifetime in and around his community with Tom, Tom's wife, his wife and children, and many friends. Frankly, I did not find it that compelling most of the time. My wife and others who have read this author say he is humorous. For me, having a sense of humor and being humorous are not the same thing, and I would say the author definitely has a sense of humor, but he simply was not that humorous. This is not Mark Twain. He's a former RN who has deep roots in one community. Maybe it's just me. Having lived in 12 towns, 20 homes, gone to 10 different schools, maybe the sense of community attachment just doesn't resonate with me as it does with others. Or maybe it's because I don't easily connect nursing with humor writing. Then again, my RN ex-wife ended up remarried to a respiratory therapist who smoked constantly and refused to let me in his house to see my daughter, not even on Christmas, so maybe I will never properly understand the nursing mind. Regardless, I would like to end this review with a snippet from the book in which the author mentions his wife: "...she is the grown-up in this relationship. People chuckle when I say that, but I am not going for a laugh. When you're lucky you should say so. And then write yourself a stern reminder not to fall back on that luck." Yes, my dear wife, I am extremely lucky. ( )
  larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |

Many of these enticing and wonderfully adept stories may not be as interesting as some presented in earlier books, but plainly speaking Michael Perry in Visiting Tom has achieved his greatest and most developed work so far among what has previously been published to great acclaim. Still a bit over-sentimental for my tastes, Perry again proves his deftness on the page. Weaving true life events into a cogent semblance of purity and goodness unrivaled by anyone in letters I have thus read, Perry resorts to what is happening in his personal present and how it relates specifically to his past. Admittedly nostalgic, Perry also remains humble as he exhibits an equal measure of the grace he admires in others he meets who come across his path. I hazard a guess that Michael Perry will have plenty more to say in the coming years as he continues to tackle life head-on with honesty, kindness, humor, and a taste for the best things a full life has to offer. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 7, 2018 |
Couldn't get into it ( )
  cjordan916 | Jul 31, 2016 |
Perry continues to amaze with his deep, complex insights into what would normally be considered ordinary subject matter, such as old barns, swimming holes, and "real" kitchens. He continually returns me to my own memories of growing up in a small town/rural atmosphere. Genius! ( )
  1Randal | Aug 25, 2014 |
Perry continues to amaze with his deep, complex insights into what would normally be considered ordinary subject matter, such as old barns, swimming holes, and "real" kitchens. He continually returns me to my own memories of growing up in a small town/rural atmosphere. Genius! ( )
  1Randal | Aug 25, 2014 |
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Details the author's experiences and conversations with his octogenarian, cannon-shooting neighbor Tom Hartwig, who, armed with an arsenal of stories and an anti-authoritarian streak a mile wide, offers guidance and inspiration.

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