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Truck: A Love Story Hardcover – October 17, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A part-time emergency medical technician, Perry delivers the latest account of his somewhat idiosyncratic life and times in a small Wisconsin town ("I am happy to live in a place where I can chuck a washing machine out my back door and no one judges my behavior unusual"). Here, he focuses on two main events over the course of a year: fixing up a 1951 International Harvester pickup truck and developing a romance with a local woman after a long stretch of failed relationships. Never cloying, Perry is a wry observer of how success in both areas "is the result of a modest accumulation of lucky breaks and the kindness of others," and displays the storytelling and observational skills that made his first book, Population: 485, such a success. One of his most memorable descriptions is of an ex-patient, Ozzie, a motorcycle-loving ventilator-dependent quadriplegic, who gets to ride again after his wheelchair is hooked up to the cycle of his paraplegic friend Pat—"You haven't really explored the outer limits of health care until you've watched a Hell's Angel suction a tracheotomy tube." (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* One wouldn't think that repairing a beat-up old pickup could become a life-altering undertaking. And yet, for Perry, it was all that and more: an epic adventure that encompassed love, diplomacy, a little hydroponics, and even some danger (like setting yourself on fire). Perry, who is also the author of -Population: 485 (2002), propels the story forward as if he were writing a novel, helped by a cast of characters who range from the lightly offbeat to the totally bizarre. The prose is straightforward, almost deadpan, but behind the words, the reader feels a heightened sense of irony, as though Perry knows how weird it all is but figures, what the heck, it's true so why not just go with it. The heart of the book tells dual love stories--man and truck; man and woman--that are, in their own ways, equally passionate. Perry writes about fixing his truck as if he was resurrecting it, but in fact, he may more accurately be said to have been resurrecting himself. The truck is transformed, certainly, but the multiplicity of changes that Perry goes through run deeper and likely will last longer. Recommend this one enthusiastically to fans of self--exploration books and truck-repair manuals--and all readers in between. Motorcycle maintenance for a new century. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (October 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060571179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060571177
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Perry has written for numerous publications, including Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, Salon, and the Utne Reader. A contributing editor to Men's Health, he lives in northern Wisconsin with his family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Pettit VINE VOICE on November 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Michael Perry is a true writer. He knows how to turn an apt phrase and hits on what is True in life. His earlier book, Population 485, is one of my favorite books (it made me smile and made me cry) Where Perry succeeded greatly with Population 485, he nearly succeeds greatly here. Perry writes on the real deal about people-- the funny, the sad, the admirable, the eccentricities, as well as vulnerabilities and covered-up vulnerabilities (and his own vulnerabilities too) This is where he is wonderful, especially since he is down-to-earth. Perry has lots of human insights in Truck, however they come in a more-meandering writing style. Perry is still a great read, particularly when he is writing about human beings. Read Population 485 if you haven't been introduced to Perry yet; there is little out there that is any better. Truck is very much worth reading, easily worth 5 stars if it had a tightened focus. If you have particular interest in truck restoration(International Harvesters in particular); and/or in the daily delights of gardening -- then you may find these increased meanderings wonderful. Population 485 moved with more urgency but also had the delightful mix of insights and was a fast read. I've been living with (in?) Truck for nearly a week now, soaking in a couple chapters a day. So like the centerline chats Perry describes (shooting the breeze in the middle of the road, one vehicle stopped alongside another) Truck is a book that takes time. On reflection, Perry's meandering isn't a fault as much as it is an accurate depiction of his life. Appreciating and inhabiting this world takes time.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Readandknit on October 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful voice! He has a knack for choosing just the right words to bring the people to life. The story could be sentimental but it's not. It could be Lake Woebegon, but it's funnier. Michael Perry knows how to make you laugh, but even better than the words on the page is him telling the stories behind the stories. I listened to him read from his books, and this book zoomed right to the top of my Christmas list.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephan Wilkinson on January 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I flat love this book, just as I did Perry's previous work, "Population 485." But I have to admit, we live in parallel universes: We both call a gas pedal a foot feed (I think we both learned to drive on farm tractors), both had our marriages sanctified by dear friends who happened to be pseudo-ministers of tax-dodge churches, both have second lives as EMS volunteers in rural towns, and both have written books about restoring old vehicles that are actually books about our inner secrets. Michael Perry's book is way better than mine, and I'm glad of that, because his is not really about rebuilding a 1951 International Harvester pickup but about falling in love with his wife Anneliese as a middle-aged loner worried by commitment. May their marriage last forever and may this book be read and appreciated just as long, for it's a work in which every word is carefully chosen, something so rare in an age of lazy writing. It's a book about the glory of true love, and I'm sure that Perry knows John Prine's words....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
While TRUCK: A LOVE STORY is a follow-up to the author's best-seller POPULATION: 485, no prior familiarity with that memoir or Perry is required to fall in love with TRUCK. Here are three main themes: restoring a 1950s International Harvest truck, cultivating a garden, and discovering romance late in life - all of which blend beautifully in a story of colorful small-town characters and enchantment. Love on many different levels is the theme unifying all, creating a delicate, involving story which will appeal to general-interest audiences - even those with no prior connections to trucks or small towns!

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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Format: Hardcover
There is something romantic about old trucks and Michael Perry doesn't leave you wondering what that is. His thoughtful, poignant, ALIVE storytelling sets the stage, brings you to the scene (whether that be tinkering, book signing or kissing) then ultimately takes you for an exhilarating ride down the backroads of both countryside and life.

The moment I got done reading this book--the first I've read with his byline--I purchased everything the man's written. Yes, there is something romantic about old trucks, storytellers and yes, even sneezing cows: Michael Perry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carl M. Dalka on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Try - Truck by Michael Perry.
I just finished an easy read book by a fellow from Wisconsin. He calls it a love story. I guess you will find three or more love stories in the book. But the prime is a 1951 International Harvestor L120 Pickup Truck. He writes: "Those of us who covet International Pickups nurture a perverse sort of pride. Open the cab and you may catch a whiff of geek. As trucks go, International lacks the pop culture resonance of a Ford or Chevy, nor do, they have the arcane appeal of the rarities --- say a Studebaker. International is somewhere in the dull middle, associated more with plowed fields than the open road."
I found parts of the book so laughable that tears came to my eyes. Truth be told - as a boy I lived just blocks from an IHC showroom. There stationed in 12-foot wide showroom windows were trucks in all their glory. No mere auto could compare. Perry peeks into company history and smears it across the pages like jelly on bread making it so tasty - you virtually eat it up. The sidebars about Wisconsin and the love for his sister and brother-in-law never seem to end and you don't want them to.
When you read: "My truck is an ugly truck. I bought it for $150 bucks from a guy named Ron." You can feel reality. Ron had swabbed it with a coat of pink primer and many chapters later you find that it was not primer it was two cans of different paints mixed together to have enough to do the job.
Anyhow - I'll go off and try to read his other books "Population 485" and "Off the Main Street". If, you only have the time and money for one book this year. Try - TRUCK by Michael Perry
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