"After a 12-year absence, a real-life prodigal seeks to serve his hometown - New Auburn, Wisconsin, population: 485 - by joining the volunteer fire and rescue department."
I thought this was going to be a plain-spoken man's story. Turns out, he is a writer and poet; his story is much more cerebral than I expected. He is a deep thinker, and an interesting man.
Lara H. reviewed Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time on
Helpful Score: 5
Interesting book... Left me looking for more. It's a great book to read in pieces, as it's almost just a collection of short stories written by a man who returned to his hometown and got involved in everyday life mainly through the volunteer fire department. The book gives a good impression of life in the smaller towns of America.
Excellent, excellent book. Much better than I thougt it would be. This guy really is a writer and his commentary is so thoughtful. Several of his musings really struck a chord with me. This book is more about becoming a part of a community than being about a volunteer fire fighter. I highly recommend.
As a former member of this community and former waitress serving Micheal lunch(though he never took his nose out of the books he read in the small cafe to chat)this book describes the people, dirt, decor, tears, and love that this small town extends to all with the best that words can capture. You may need a dictionary to catch all the words. The words in the dictionary are free as Micheal Perry says and there for anyone to use. There are tears and laughter to keep you pondering the small town life for days after putting the book down.
The author of this book actually came to our local library.Interesting guy! I really liked this book,it describes small town life so well!! The author describes small towns and the interesting people who live in them,takes everyone along on his various emergency calls.This book will make you laugh outloud and sometimes make you cry!
After years away from the tiny Wisconsin farm town of New Auburn, the author, Michael Perry, returns to take up residence once again in the town where he grew up. Figuring that the best way to regain credibility with his neighbors is to become active in his new environment he joins the volunteer fire department. Thus begins an autobiographical account that reads like a novel. [From the rear cover]: Against a backdrop of fires and tangled wrecks, bar fights and smelt feeds, he tells a frequently comic tale leavened with moments of heartbreaking delicacy and searing tragedy.
Michael Perry returns back to his home town, New Auburn, Wisconsin. A town in Northwestern Wisconsin, Population 485. He left 10 years ago and landed in Wyoming were he worked as a cowboy and put himself through nursing school.
Now he is home, has bought a house on Main Street and is happy to be closer to his mother and brothers. Both his brothers belong to the fire department and his mother is a first responder for the area. Michael decides the best way to reconnect with the community is to join the fire department and use his nursing training to study to become an EMT and his mother joins him in the class.
This is your typical small town, everyone knows everything about everybody, and Michael thinks it's the perfect place to write. Using the emergency calls, grass and chimney fires, accidents and dinners as background for his stories he brings the little town to life on the pages of this book. Humor and tragedy, heartbreak and devastating heartache we meet Michael's neighbors one siren at a time.
I had several reasons for wanting to read this book. First, when I started this blog I challenged myself to read books written by Wisconsin authors or that used Wisconsin as the setting for the story. This books meets both those requirements.
Secondly, I am from a small town in Wisconsin, a little bigger than New Auburn, but growing up there was pure joy and at that time, everyone knew everything about everybody. That town has changed and grown and is no longer the town of my memories.
Also while growing up in that small town, my father was a fireman, later the fire chief, and when the fire department was in charge of the ambulance service he was the equivalent of what is now an EMT or First Responder. He even had the Fire Training School at Madison Area Technical College dedicated to him just 2 weeks after he died.
The stories in this book were wonderfully told and brought back so many memories. It prompted a call to my sister who had also read the book some time ago and we spent an hour reminiscing about our dad, who passed away in 1988, some of the stories were so funny, we wish we could write a book. Thank you Michael Perry for writing this book and giving us our Dad back for a few minutes.
Michael Perry has the gift of storytelling and anyone who likes to read about life in a small town, firefighters, EMTs, or anyone who believes in giving back will appreciate and truly enjoy this book. If you would just like to read a good story told by a fresh voice you will like this book.
Note: This book was published in 2002 and new copies of this book may be hard to find but there are plenty used copies available at both Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com
This book was from my private collection. No compensation was received.
Liz L. - reviewed Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time on
Helpful Score: 1
This book wasn't quite what I expected and although the author has some good tales to tell, I struggled to finish this. There's something odd about the way it's written and I can't quite put my finger on it. I guess I just didn't "click" with this one.
Michael Perry is a "write from the heart" kind of author. This book leaves me with a sense that I know what he is experiencing. It deals with serious subjects and situations with warmth and sense of humor. Thumbs up! Leaves me wanting to read more of this author. PJ Doyle