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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Leaving Home: A Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories (Lake Wobegon #2) by Garrison Keillor

Originally published in 1987.

I stepped away from Garrison Keillor for a while. I don't know why, but I forgot about Lake Wobegon for about 15 years. But, I have returned for the occasional visit for a couple of years now and I find that I missed these stories. Having grown up Lutheran in rural Indiana I find quite a connection with these stories.

Keillor melancholy yet heartwarming stories of the people in and around the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon are worth a re-visit if you have stayed away. Deft turns of the phrase like "Corinne doesn't believe in God, but there is some evidence to show that God believes in her. She has a gift to teach, a sacred gift. Fifteen years in dreary bluish-green classrooms, pacing as she talks, this solid woman carries a flame" (p. 23) make you nod your head in appreciation.

Towards the end, a couple from Lake Wobegon is trying to take a trip to Hawaii. Keillor's extended discussion on why the glamour of "paradise" is wasted on Minnesotans and how heaven will be just as wasted is great sly understated humor with a sweet comment that starts with: "My people aren't paradise people, but when God loves you, then everywhere is paradise enough." He ends with a long comment about love cemented in life's losses and tragedies "...will last because it has endured so much already." (p. 218)

My laugh out loud moment in the book came during the story of Larry the Sad Boy who was saved twelve times in the Lutheran church. It rings true to this lifelong Lutheran and I had to immediately run and read it to my wife who also laughed out loud. A great paragraph that gently skewers and defends the unbending Lutheran outlook on life.

I have noticed that every comment I wrote was about a religious passage. I marked a few pages as I read and they all happened to have this theme. This book is not really a religious book but religion is a clear part of it.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Leaving Home: A Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories

Reviewed on June 16, 2013.

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