Most helpful positive review
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Packs a punch
on October 11, 2000
This book does all the things so many memoirs fail to do. The author attempts to understand her parents, especially her father, rather than condemn them. She is critical of herself as often as anyone else. And, as Carol Bly points out in her blurb, she presents both a "public and personal memoir." Thus, the story of the 1959 meatpackers strike in Albert Lea, Minnesota, takes center stage. It becomes the flashpoint for future examination of class, gender, and the divide between union and management. By using this event as the book's anchor, Register reveals as much about the life of this small town as she does about herself. The point, it seems, is that her home town could as easily be our home town. We know these people. They happen to be packinghouse workers, but they could be Maine lobstermen fighting for fishing rights or small-plot farmer in the Southwest struggling for water rights. Best of all, Register makes you understand the human concerns of people on both sides. Where so many books would have chosen to demonize the plant managers, Register makes you see their point of view. By eschewing political agenda and dismissing easy propaganda, *Packinghouse Daughter* goes straight to the heart of the most basic American struggle.