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Paper or Plastic: Life in the Check-Out Lane Paperback – March 24, 2008
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Top customer reviews
Recently I met this wonderful lady at our local Pinch a Penny pool store. We had been to the store many times, but after reading her book I just had to go and meet this funny lady, and she is just as funny in person. Read this book for a good laugh, the kind when you are reading the book and you are laughing out loud.... and the husband looks at you with that look. You know the one!
Bobbi Erhart's story is not simply a humorous tale of grocery carts, customers and baggers. Many events on her life's journey would fell lesser women. But Ms. Erhart, like the mountains she loves, is always rising up. If you check the word "resilient" in the dictionary, you'll see Ms.Erhart's name. From her childhood in Michigan's wild and wooly upper peninsula to her later life in the Rocky mountains, the vagaries of nature play out in her outer and inner environments.
When she finds herself employed as a grocery store clerk, she sees that the checkout lane is really a microcosm of the larger society. Her customers run the gamut between the dualities of young and old, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, healthy and ill, happy and sad. Her insights and humor will reveal and delight, but her book doesn't end at the checkout lane.
For those of you who are Florida transplants, her story of moving from the mountains to the flatlands will ring true and have you nodding your head in agreement.
You can certainly read this book for enjoyment, but you may also be tempted to be a little more friendly to the checkout clerk at your grocery store. Who knows, you may end up in a book someday.
I read "Paper or Plastic" in one afternoon that I dedicated to not going biking. I read it while I sat on the top or second step of my pool in Southwest Florida. At my side was a cooling beer, with several empty cans awaiting their final destination to the recycle bin in the garage. Several times I spread out on my plastic raft (Pinch A Penny, Englewood) and risked toppling over from laughing, adding to that the risk of my current beer falling into the pool. Heaven forbid! Who wants to drink a watered-down beer?
I enjoyed the humorous manner in which the book was written and I enjoyed visualizing some of Bobbi's experiences (can you say "eating rattlesnake"?) and, knowing Bobbi, picturing her saying some of the comments appearing in the book. We've all been there: to the supermarket and we've all heard some of the tales that Bobbi relates in her book. We've all seen the obese woman whose hair is always in pink curlers and we've encountered "grazers."
I know Bobbi ... I live minutes from her. That made it all the more special for me ... learning more about a person whom I know. And, I didn't know there was a Rotonda River. I DID learn something new from the book!
"Paper or Plastic" had me grinning, when not downright laughing out loud throughout the book except for the chapter that dealt with homeless people (Bobbi has a soft spot in her heart, too.)
If you enjoy a good read that doesn't require analyzing ("what IS the author trying to say?"), this might be the book for you to read on a quiet afternoon OR while you're in your walk-in closet, trying to escape nature's wrath during a hurricane.
It's a good read and I imagine we've "been there, done that," but perhaps not through the eyes and clever, creative mind of Bobbi Erhart.
And there's a bonus: Bobbi adds some recipes near the end of the book. Be sure to try "Mom's Blueberry ___" ... Mom's description added a final laugh to the pages that precede it.
Give it a try and when you do, don't be surprised if you're asked: "Paper or Plastic?"
Robert J. Scott