Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Visiting Tom by Michael Perry

Visiting Tom, Michael Perry's latest memoir, gives readers another view into Perry's rural farm life in Wisconsin.  Perry was a bachelor into his forties, when he met and married Anneliese.  Anneliese had a daughter and they soon had another daughter together.  They have lived on a farm for the past five years surrounded by chickens and pigs, performing the familiar chores that have sustained farmers and their families for generations.  Perry was trained as a nurse, and still goes on EMT runs and works with the firefighters.  He is also often on the road, lecturing about his life and the glories of family and farm life.  But his life and his love is his family and the land they occupy and which sustains them.

This book is organized around two themes.  The main theme is Perry's neighbor, Tom, an octogenarian who farms, welds, keeps bees and in general is one of the handiest men Perry knows.  He and his wife spend a lot of time with Tom and his wife Arlene, soaking up their wisdom and the stories of their life. 

The second theme is Perry's ongoing argument with the local road commissioners, who after years have decided to make a road change.  While it makes an intersection safer according to regulations, it makes the trip up the hill to the Perry farm difficult and sometimes impossible in the winter.  Perry spends over a year protesting the decision and its effects.

Those readers who have encountered Perry below will sink into this book as into a warm comfortable, familiar bed; full of comfort and good cheer.  Those new to his work have a real treat in store as they read of a family that dares to slow down and value the way things used to be, when a family depended on each other and the neighbors that surrounded them.  It is a quintessential feel-good book and readers will enjoy their time visiting with the Perry family.


emaginette said...

Reminds me of 'The Waltons.' :-)

Sandie said...

Very perceptive! It does remind me of them.