... Life In A Northern Town
by Jack Hart
Trafford Publishing

"If ever Ozzie and Harriet had a rival, it was Mom and Dad."

Upstate Michigan reigns as the star of Hart's book. The author exposes the village of Calumet as being a perennially frigid but idyllic place to grow up. He writes about smelts, saunas, bears, coaches, friends, family, teachers, and his oddball adventures.

The book offers a few great vignettes such as playing hockey in a road framed by twelve-foot snowbanks, using plastic bread wrappers as a shoehorn to pull winter boots over footwear, and instructions on how to immerse yourself in a cold lake. And other funny stories are worth the telling like the yarns about the cat and the bear, the wrinkle red bum, and Arty Gaabo's Grandma. At times, Hart's accounts border on crude, but that's his sense of humor. His story about a booger flying out of his nose is a perfect example of the ultimate embarrassing moment for an adolescent. But sometimes his narrative is too exclusive leaving the reader wondering what he's talking about.

Some of the best memoir writers are Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, Bill Bryson, and Jeannette Walls. Their books are humorous, descriptive, and insightful. Hart has the material to write a great memoir and the motivation. We learn that he had a nurturing mother, and his father was a pastor and director of the nearby camp Giche-Gumee. The book succeeds when Hart gives the reader glimpses of the snowy surroundings, his homestead, family life, and the camp.

Return to USR Home