Review of Leaving Home

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May 18, 2015 by Beth - I SNIFF BOOKS blog

cover - leaving home by GKLeaving Home by Garrison Keillor and first published by Viking Penguin in 1987. Paperback with 258 page narrative and 4 page preface.

Leaving Home is Garrison Keillor’s first print collection of Lake Wobegon monologues from his A Prairie Home Companion radio show — collected from between 1984 – 1987. I say “first” like there are lots, but sadly there are only two — this one one and Life Among The Lutherans; and four more appear in the Lake Wobegon section of The Keillor Reader. There are plenty of Lake Wobegon collections on CD, but I wish more were in print form.

opening words to monologue

Keillor does a News from Lake Wobegon monologue each week on his A Prairie Home Companion radio show. Lake Wobegon is a fictional small town in Minnesota populated by mostly Catholics (descedened from German immigrants) and Lutherans (descended from Norwegian and Swedish immigrants).  He always begins each monologue with: “Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, my home, town…” He mentions the weather and then brings us up-to-date on the lives of the Lake Wobegonians in all its boring and extraordinary glory. It’s truly amazing how these ordinary people with their ordinary lives living in this imaginary small town in Minnesota are so captivating and feel so real. 

The only quibble I have (and it’s minor, I have much ♥ for the Lake Wobegon monologues) is that some of the vignettes end a bit abruptly — it’s not that any there were any loose ends that needed to be tied up, it’s just that I want more. I’m sure the (sometimes) sudden endings are due to the time constraints of the live show and Keillor’s spontaneity on stage.  

“A Glass of Wendy” is my absolute favorite vignette, but I love them all. My favorite quote: “If you can’t trust your can opener, then what?” [page 35]

“Well, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” 

Leaving Home is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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