- Fizzy Thoughts: Population: 485

Population: 485

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Population: 485
Michael Perry
July 2007
272 pages

I picked this book up in a bookstore on Bainbridge Island, Washington. That was a fun day…I took the ferry over from Seattle and spent a few hours exploring the small town where the ferry dumps you off. At the time, I was feeling nostalgic about small town life, and a book about life in a town with 485 people sounded quite appealing. I even started reading the book that day. I think I read about one third of the book before I put it down and then got sidetracked by another book. And another. And another. Until suddenly, it’s a couple of years later and I’m on the Powell’s website and I notice the author has a new book out that sounds quite interesting (it’s called Coop, as in chicken…I tell you, I’m a sucker for rural stories) and that inspires me to hunt down the book and finish it. So I did.

Michael Perry returns to his hometown, New Auburn, Wisconsin. He joins the volunteer fire department and through a series of essays based around his escapades and calls with the fire department, he illustrates what life is like in New Auburn. He also shares bits of his history apart from New Auburn (he went to nursing school, he’s a poet, he’s worked as an EMT). And despite the fact that I enjoyed reading it, I really can’t think of much else to say. It’s definitely not for everyone, since life in a small town can sometimes be mundane. And life as a volunteer for the fire department can occasionally get gruesome and depressing. But since I spent 5 years of my childhood in a small (population: 500) town in Oregon, I actually like reading stuff like this. Go figure.

4 comment(s):

bermudaonion said...

I love to read about life in a small town, but don't think I'd want to experience it.

Beth F said...

I grew up in a small midwestern village, so books about small town life are just fine!

Ti said...

I love books that center around small towns. I think it's because I am so tired of crowds and traffic that I yearn for something smaller.

That Coop book sounds pretty interesting too.

Joanne said...

This sounds really interesting! I grew up in a suburban city setting with a population of about 400,000 and some of the best times were staying at my grandparents rural farm in a town of about 400 people. So in a way I totally appreciate both city and small-town life.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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