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.)
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*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 PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved