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Visiting Tom: A Man, A Highway, And The Road To Roughneck Grace (2012)

Visiting Tom:  A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace (2012)

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4.09 of 5 Votes: 4
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0061894443 (ISBN13: 9780061894442)

About book Visiting Tom: A Man, A Highway, And The Road To Roughneck Grace (2012)

Michael and his family live on a farm in rural Wisconsin. At the present, he is earning a living as a writer but he has not lost touch with his family’s deep agricultural roots. His first visit to his present neighbor’s, Tom Hartwig, kitchen was “a place I’d never visited, but I knew where I was.” The book he has written about his 82-year-old neighbor has the feel of that first “kitchen” visit – warm, direct, informative, humorous, and homey – it speaks directly to one’s soul. Tom Hartwig’s family has farmed the land he now inhabits for over 150 years. His great-grandparents having built the farmhouse in which he lives when they settled there in the mid-1800’s. In the 1970’s, the state of Wisconsin determined a new interstate highway was needed, the path of which was through the Hartwig farm. The Right-of-Way made an “island” of 35 acres of once productive farmland and condemned 18 acres of the farm for “Eminent Domain.” This roadway now passes within 100 yards of his storage silo. For the past 40 years, the Hartwigs have thrived in their lives with 8 million vehicles a year passing within a throw distance from his property. Mr. Hartwig is the quintessential Mid-Western farmer. He tinkers with more projects than a kindergarten class, has encyclopedic knowledge of military armory and is the go-to person in his county when someone needs any welding done. A tour around his farm gives the reader a glimpse into the diversity of his talents. On the drive up to the house, one is met by staring down the barrel of a working cannon (he creates and fires working scale replicas of such). His barn is filled with his creations: a welding unit, grain reaper, snow blower, etc. His chronological age is not reflected by his actions; he is in constant motion and continues to actively farm. This is the kind of person everyone wants as a neighbor but few of us are blessed to have. This is a story of being neighborly, sustaining one’s Self, defining “Self” from within and how family, once again, includes those with whom we do not share DNA. The author achieves his goal of “involving” the reader by writing from the 1st person perspective (without undue personal assessments) and by having a sharp eye, inquisitive mind and the ability to translate his experience into good prose. The author’s admiration for his neighbor is evident and justified. There are no vulgarities, sexual situations or violence to be found in this book, any of that would not be “neighborly.” This is the first of Mr. Perry’s books I have read, but it will not be the last. I like “sittin’ a spell” with him. Another "back to the farm" book. These seem to be very popular lately. Maybe because of the Recession. Anyway, this isn't so much a story as it is listening to a bunch of old farmers chew the fat. This story, that story, how about that one time... Blah, blah, blah. What saves it from being boring is Michael Perry's beautiful prose and the one constant storyline in the book: Michael fighting the Highway Commissioner to get his driveway widened (it was wide, but the Commissioner unilaterally decided to narrow it). This thread keeps the otherwise choppy narrative together.It's very clear that Michael loves his wife, appreciates her, and adores his two daughters. This is very touching and beautiful. Other than that, not much to say. There are beautiful photographs in the book.

Do You like book Visiting Tom: A Man, A Highway, And The Road To Roughneck Grace (2012)?

I always enjoy "visiting" with Mr. Perry! Can't wait to read another one of his books.

Some of the dialogue, as well as parts of the story in general, reminded me of Pop.

I love Perry's work. I think he missed it here. Read "Truck" again instead!

I want to know more about Arlene.

I love Mr Perry's writting.

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