I liked the book and I am a big fan of PHC but..
I was expecting a bit more humor. I was also surprised by the adult episodes.. I would not recommend this book as suitable for all ages.
Who is accomplished enough to claim a critic's eye? Who is as masterful as those who have written for the rest of us to read? When I was a young man, I believed I knew what was better than something else. Now, I am in awe of everything. Now I realize that the older I get, the less I know.
This book is for all of us over 50 types, who have treasured Mr. Keillor's anecdotal stories on a Prairie Home Companion, about the fictional town of Lake Wobegon. But, this is the adult version of those broadcast stories. Here he deals with death, family alienation, sexual dysfunction and a host of private, personal insights into the lives of his characters. His descriptions of his characters made this reader laugh out loud in the early chapters. But, as the chapters rolled by, punctuated with nostalgic piano interludes, Mr. Keillor's slow, breathy narration starts to wear. There is no great architecture of fiction here. This is not a miracle or morality tale. Rather, it is a sweet and somber collection of provincial characters who are shown to endure life's inanities and ironies. And there is no one who knows these Midwesterners better than Mr. Keillor. It is funny and sad to listen to this, with him doing his own narration as he has on the radio for so many years. I'm glad I spent the time with him. He is like having a friend who is melancholy and removed, giving him a clear view of the big picture in a little town. Thank you, Mr. Keillor and thank God I am not a Lutheran.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Is there such a category as “geezer-lit”? If not, this book could start a new literary genre as I expect only those over the age of 50 have sufficient life experience to appreciate the humor and insights that make this wonderful tale hilarious, poignant, wise and affectionate all at the same time.
Introduced to Evelyn on the last evening of her life, enjoying a somewhat raucous dinner with her best friends, I was laughing so hard I had to pee. Then she was gone and her daughter Barbara had to pick up the pieces and plan Evelyn’s unique memorial according to instructions left in a wonderful letter that actually begins Barbara’s awakening (and ours too if we have the ears to hear).
There are other story lines that are outrageous and revealing in their own ways, but it’s Evelyn’s spirit winding through the tale that keeps some grounded, some inspired, and often both at the same time. As one rapidly reaching geezer-hood, I enjoyed the connection to family and community, and the message of living life to its fullest on your own terms. Life has no dress rehearsal and once the curtain comes down the play is over and regrets are wasted time. That message was Evelyn’s best gift to Barbara.
GK’s reading has his usual quirky pauses and breaths, and it took at bit to get used to. But really, there is no other voice that can tell a Lake Wobegon tale. It was a perfect match.
As mentioned by some other reviews, the “publisher’s summary” written above is highly inaccurate.
This story revolves around a funeral, a wedding, and the idea of living life to its fullest; a story full of “a bowling ball-urn, a hot-air balloon, giant duck decoys, a flying Elvis, and, most importantly, Wally's pontoon boat. As the wedding of the decade approaches (accompanied by wheels of imported cheese and giant shrimp shish kebabs), the good-loving people of Lake Wobegon do what they do best: drive each other slightly crazy.” The Whippets still play baseball; the Chatterbox Café and Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery is still open; the awful Magendanz family is still awful; and the local police still don’t have much use for their new antiterrorism equipment.
This was my first book by Keillor, and since it seems that everyone says that this wasn’t his best work, I can only imagine how great his other books must be. When I first started listening, the monotone of Keillor voice bothered me but it really grew on me over time because it became obvious that it was the perfect voice for this story. I really enjoyed this bizarre tale and the ending is awesome.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Believe it or not, this is my first Lake Wobegon . . . the voice of Garrison Keillor is a sing song melody that is soothing, steadfast, and funny. The characters of the small town are brought to life in ways I wouldn't think possible . . . and they grow on you . . . and you are reminded not to take yourself or your problems too seriously.
Addicted to books, both print and audio-.
I tried reading one of Garrison Keillor's early novels and it didn't hold my interest. Hearing him read this one was lovely; no surprise that I find his work stronger in audio, since he is first and foremost a storyteller. It is like listening to a very long, in-depth News From Lake Wobegon, and it held my interest all the way through. It has everything his monologues do; humor, gentle satire, familiar small-town characters and former townspeople who got out, but it's all developed to a much greater degree, and it works. I'll listen to another one sometime!
Listening to Garrison Keillor is always a treat. The story is a bit goofy--essentially an elongated version of "The news from Lake Wobegon." However, his story telling never gets old!
I'm a retired woman living in a coastal rural area on the mid-north coast of NSW. There's a lot of work to do around the property and listening to a good book while doing it is just 'the best'.
Garrison Keillor's narration style is initially disconcerting, but soon become so much part of the whole experience that it's hard to imagine the story being narrated by anyone else. Pontoon is full of wonderfully fanciful characters becoming involved in increasingly bizarre situations. Yet there is so much truth in the characters and the vignettes Keillor relates that he must go about every day with a pen and notebook, recording his observations of real people. A lovely, warm, gentle listen that I will revisit in the future.
Too long gone, two wrongs right, to a brighter day and Tupelo night . . .
I've enjoyed Garrison Keillor from way back in his days of Prairie Home Companion. His dry wit and ability to weave a wandering tale used to thrill me every Saturday night as I'd dial in PBS to catch his show.
Oddly enough, I'd never bought one of his books. So, I anticipated this one would be a treat for me.
The opening chapters were about what I'd expect from Garrison. He laid down a firm foundation upon which to weave. I began to eagerly anticipate where the story may go.
By the middle of the book, I was thinking: Okay, maybe the passing years have left an over-romanticized memory of Keilllor's melancholy Lake Wobegon yarns.
The ending of this book left me laughing out loud. It was so funny, I had to listen to the end a second time.
In short, it's a great little story with a brief snooze in the middle. If you buy it, don't give up. The ending is worth the price (and the time).
Nobody can paint a picture like Garrison Keillor. He talks and you can see what he's talking about - and, mostly, it's hilarious. Lutheran pastors in a boat? A naked boy parasailing? Just too much fun. And, most gratifying for some of us - not a perfect, skinny, beautiful female in the whole book!! I loved it!!