Get ready for the Wisconsin Book Festival with this terrific tween read!
When I went to a recent Michael Perry event I wasn’t planning to buy his new book, The Scavengers, because it’s a kids’ book. But after a few passages read aloud in Perry’s signature down-home-wisdom style, I was hooked. So I bought the book and devoured it in about two sittings, forgetting very quickly that it was even supposed to be a kids’ book (don’t worry, it’s entirely recommended for them, too). You might be a bit skeptical, as I was at first, of a middle-aged male Wisconsin farmer’s ability to channel a tween-aged girl in dystopic future America, but fear not, your skepticism will prove wholly unwarranted.
Perry, to date a denizen of the autobiographical non-fiction genre, says he wrote Scavengers because he wants his daughters to grow up in a world with relatable, strong female characters. And boy girl, did he succeed! I fell in love with the self-monikered Ford Falcon and her partners in crime: a scrappy rooster named Hatchet, a neighborly Spoonerist named Tom, a mischievous but lovable little brother named Dookie, and a whole slew of others. Make no mistake--this is not an ameliorated view of the future--Ford Falcon lives a tough life in a harsh reality. But she is completely her own hero. Despite the fact that she is surrounded by a cast of supporting characters, she makes her own decisions and needs no rescuing when times get tough. She is an agent of her own change and does not get googly-eyed or distracted. I was thoroughly inspired by this unapologetic, unmitigated female triumph, and I find myself often hearkening back to the words of Mr. Perry’s book inscription, “Sometimes, when times get tough, you just have to go all Ford Falcon.”
Michael Perry will be at the Wisconsin Book Festival this year if you'd like your own chance to hear him talk and read. His event will be on Sunday, October 19th at 11 am at the Central Library.
[And for those who want to know, Michael Perry will publish his first adult fiction book sometime in 2015...stay tuned!]