Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review: My Family and Other Hazards by June Melby

My Family and Other Hazards: A MemoirMy Family and Other Hazards: A Memoir by June Melby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book from the Library Thing Early Reviewers, and was excited when it came.

When June Melby was ten, her school teacher parents decided to buy a miniature golf course in Wisconsin, and to spend their summers living there and running it. This is her memory of those years, looking back as her parents prepare to sell it.

I was a little bit put off by the prologue. Something about the tone and the writing almost made me set it aside. Maybe Melby was channeling a bit too much of her stand-up comic persona. Thank goodness, as she started her hole-by-hole walk through the years and the course, the tone changed. She made us feel the love that she had for her family, even as she let us see how annoying a sister could be. She evoked the beauty of the Wisconsin Chain of Lakes, while letting us feel and smell the damp slime of leaves rotting in a water feature, and of dripping paint in the heat. She described each hole, what it looked like, how to play it, and what aspect of life it evoked for her: time, hope, nostalgia. . . . With each hole she explored a little bit more about the life they led at the course and about herself.

This was a very enjoyable memoir, especially for someone who enjoys Americana, the midwest, and family.

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