Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor #AudiobookReview #BookReview #Minnesota

A young narrator chronicles his coming-of-age in Minnesota’s Lake Wobegon, a fictitious small town where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

Lake Wobegon Days (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks Used Books)

When I was in 7th grade, my dad brought home a book called Lake Wobegon Days for me to read. We had been listening to A Prairie Home Companion on Saturday nights on public radio for some time, so I was familiar with Lake Wobegon, and now there was a whole book of stories. It’s been many years since I was first introduced to the mythical town where all the men are strong, the women good looking, and the children are above average, and I decided to revisit my well-worn copy of the book my dad gave to me in 1985.

If you want to get the full Lake Wobegon experience, I highly recommend the audiobook as a companion to the physical book. Garrison Keillor is a master storyteller, both in prose and in speaking, and some of the Lake Wobegon stories were recorded before a live audience, adding to the enjoyment of the stories. There’s a reason that this recording won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording when it was released.

There’s a sense of nostalgia when reading or listening to Lake Wobegon Days, of life in a small town decades ago. But that sense of nostalgia also hides the subtle darkness that Keillor explores in his stories. He’s seen as a humorist, but like Twain, there’s an exploration of the human psyche that seems to be forgotten when discussing his works. There’s a lot more depth to the stories than it seems on the surface.

It certainly helps the enjoyment of the book if you grew up in the Midwest during certain decades, but I think the Lake Wobegon stories transcend locale. If you grew up in a big city, then the stories are seen as a magical land, a bucolic look at life during another time. For some, life in a small town hasn’t changed that much, which makes this book a soothing balm.

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