Saturday, April 1, 2017

Review: Roughneck Grace by Michael Perry

Michael Perry is always a joy to read. I first discovered him through his debut nonfiction Population 485 and then Visiting Tom. Then I followed him as he dipped a toe in fiction with The Jesus Cow. In fact, I think I own all of his published books, even if I haven't actually read them all yet. I know that when I do, his comfortable, homey writing will be just as engaging as ever, as it was in Roughneck Grace, a volume of collected weekly columns that Perry wrote for the Wisconsin State Journal.

Whether writing long form or short, Perry's writing is homespun and folksy in the best possible sense. He is reflective and thoughtful, entertaining and funny. In these short columns, he writes about work and family, community and aging ("creeping codgerism"), the simple joys of life and those things that give us pause. The title was a term he coined in Visiting Tom and it accurately reflects the beauty and grace of these unadorned, heartfelt pieces.  Perry comes across as comfortable, friendly, and approachable and his musings and meditations leave the reader with a deep appreciation for the fact that he has shared his life so beautifully and so openly.  Perry makes readers feel as if they know him so perhaps it's not such a surprise that people drive down his driveway uninvited.  Fair warning Mr. Perry, if I ever find myself in your neck of rural Wisconsin, I might not be able to help myself either.

Thanks to LibraryThing Early Reviewers and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.

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