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2 Burnside Agriculture- Profiles and Biography

Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting

by

Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting Cover

 

Staff Pick

Coop is perfect for anyone dreaming of a "simple" life in the country — and for those already living it. Perry is a brilliant storyteller, and this is a funny and poignant account of his unorthodox childhood and his current quest for some cred as a parent and homesteader.
Recommended by Megan, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In over his head with two pigs, a dozen chickens, and a baby due any minute, the acclaimed author of Truck: A Love Story gives us a humorous, heartfelt memoir of a new life in the country.

Last seen sleeping off his wedding night in the back of a 1951 International Harvester pickup, Michael Perry is now living in a rickety Wisconsin farmhouse. Faced with thirty-seven acres of fallen fences and overgrown fields, and informed by his pregnant wife that she intends to deliver their baby at home, Perry plumbs his unorthodox childhood — his city-bred parents took in more than a hundred foster children while running a ramshackle dairy farm — for clues to how to proceed as a farmer, a husband, and a father.

And when his daughter Amy starts asking about God, Perry is called upon to answer questions for which he's not quite prepared. He muses on his upbringing in an obscure fundamentalist Christian sect and weighs the long-lost faith of his childhood against the skeptical alternative (You cannot toss your seven-year-old a copy of Being and Nothingness).

Whether Perry is recalling his childhood ("I first perceived my father as a farmer the night he drove home with a giant lactating Holstein tethered to the bumper of his Ford Falcon") or what it's like to be bitten in the butt while wrestling a pig ("two firsts in one day"), Coop is filled with the humor his readers have come to expect. But Perry also writes from the quieter corners of his heart, chronicling experiences as joyful as the birth of his child and as devastating as the death of a dear friend.

Alternately hilarious, tender, and as real as pigs in mud, Coop is suffused with a contemporary desire to reconnect with the earth, with neighbors, with meaning...and with chickens.

Review:

"Perry (Population: 485) is that nowadays rare memoirist whose eccentric upbringing inspires him to humor and sympathetic insight instead of trauma mongering and self-pity. His latest essays chronicle a year on 37 acres of land with his wife, daughters and titular menagerie of livestock (who are fascinating, exasperating personalities in their own right). But these luminous pieces meander back to his childhood on the hardscrabble Wisconsin dairy farm where his parents, members of a tiny fundamentalist Christian sect, raised him and dozens of siblings and foster-siblings, many of them disabled. Perry's latter-day story is a lifestyle-farming comedy, as he juggles freelance writing assignments with the feedings, chores and construction projects that he hopes will lend him some mud-spattered authenticity. Woven through are tender, uncloying recollections of the homespun virtues of his family and community, from which sprout lessons on the labors and rewards of nurturance (and the occasional need to slaughter what you've nurtured). Perry writes vividly about rural life; peck at any sentence — 'One of the [chickens] stretches, one leg and one wing back in the manner of a ballet dancer warming up before the barre' — and you'll find a poetic evocation of barnyard grace. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Several years ago, Michael Perry, a self-described "country chronicler" who made his home in New Auburn, Wis., published "Truck: A Love Story." It's the tale of how he, an aging bachelor and man-about-(small)town, decided to refurbish an ancient but classic International Harvester pickup. "Truck" was tightly constructed, full of village characters and rustic social events, and it also contained two... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Because Perry is an adept storyteller, he balances the sweeter sections with passages evoking the sting of loss and grief....Dryly humorous, mildly neurotic and just plain soulful — a book that might even make you want to buy a few chickens." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"[T]ypical Perry: written in an easygoing, talk-to-the-reader style, with a self-effacing sense of humor and an ability to conjure up vivid mental pictures with a few well-chosen words." Booklist

Synopsis:

"Beneath the flannel surface of this deer-hunting, truck-loving Badger is the soul of a poet."
—Chicago Tribune

You'll find in this book a slender silver cord of smart contemplation about meaning and purpose."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune

"He's the real thing."
—USA Today

About the Author

Michael Perry is a contributing editor to Men's Health, and his work has appeared in numerous publications, including Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Salon, and The Utne Reader. He lives in northern Wisconsin with his family.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

ahatt, January 21, 2010 (view all comments by ahatt)
I was so at home in "Coop"--not because I'm from Wisconsin or because I've raised chickens or pigs, but because Michael Perry tells this reflective, funny, tender, "good 'til the last drop" story so well. I lingered a long while after closing the book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
ahatt, January 21, 2010 (view all comments by ahatt)
I was so at home in "Coop"--not because I'm from Wisconsin or because I've raised chickens or pigs, but because Michael Perry tells this reflective, funny, tender, "good 'til the last drop" story so well. I lingered a long while after closing the book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Annie Oaklee, January 18, 2010 (view all comments by Annie Oaklee)
Toss aside your GPS, iPhone and all its non-essential apps, log off Twitter and walk away from Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Second Life and Flickr. Then open this book and read. You will not be disappointed and you will come away inspired to unplug from the digital nation and enjoy the simpler life. Who knows, you may even want to raise some chickens.

I love Michael Perry's writing and his ability to mix humor with the toils of daily life. That's what gets us through AND living in the three dimensional world really is what it's all about.
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(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061240430
Subtitle:
A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting
Author:
Perry, Michael
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
Farm life
Subject:
Farmers
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Wisconsin
Subject:
Perry, Michael
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
May 2009
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.17 in 18 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
Home and Garden » Interior Design » Featured Titles
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » General
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » Profiles and Biographies
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Food and Famine
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Sustainable Living

Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Harper - English 9780061240430 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Coop is perfect for anyone dreaming of a "simple" life in the country — and for those already living it. Perry is a brilliant storyteller, and this is a funny and poignant account of his unorthodox childhood and his current quest for some cred as a parent and homesteader.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Perry (Population: 485) is that nowadays rare memoirist whose eccentric upbringing inspires him to humor and sympathetic insight instead of trauma mongering and self-pity. His latest essays chronicle a year on 37 acres of land with his wife, daughters and titular menagerie of livestock (who are fascinating, exasperating personalities in their own right). But these luminous pieces meander back to his childhood on the hardscrabble Wisconsin dairy farm where his parents, members of a tiny fundamentalist Christian sect, raised him and dozens of siblings and foster-siblings, many of them disabled. Perry's latter-day story is a lifestyle-farming comedy, as he juggles freelance writing assignments with the feedings, chores and construction projects that he hopes will lend him some mud-spattered authenticity. Woven through are tender, uncloying recollections of the homespun virtues of his family and community, from which sprout lessons on the labors and rewards of nurturance (and the occasional need to slaughter what you've nurtured). Perry writes vividly about rural life; peck at any sentence — 'One of the [chickens] stretches, one leg and one wing back in the manner of a ballet dancer warming up before the barre' — and you'll find a poetic evocation of barnyard grace. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Because Perry is an adept storyteller, he balances the sweeter sections with passages evoking the sting of loss and grief....Dryly humorous, mildly neurotic and just plain soulful — a book that might even make you want to buy a few chickens."
"Review" by , "[T]ypical Perry: written in an easygoing, talk-to-the-reader style, with a self-effacing sense of humor and an ability to conjure up vivid mental pictures with a few well-chosen words."
"Synopsis" by , "Beneath the flannel surface of this deer-hunting, truck-loving Badger is the soul of a poet."
—Chicago Tribune

You'll find in this book a slender silver cord of smart contemplation about meaning and purpose."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune

"He's the real thing."
—USA Today

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