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Love Me

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By Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor’s latest novel left me sad, a state that comes easily enough from every day life that I hate to induce it purposefully by reading a novel. It didn’t leave me thoughtful or hopeful or quiet – just sad. Love Me feels autobiographical in large measure. It is the story of a man from (you guessed it) St. Paul, Minnesota, who writes a book that sells a million and moves to New York City, where he proceeds to cheat on his wife with every woman who is willing and slowly lose all sense of himself. Years later, broke and defeated, he comes back to Minnesota where he obsesses about the same thing he’s obsessed about throughout the book, sex and his performance during same. I almost got the feeling that the author wanted to talk about all the dirty things in a book that he can’t bring up on his much more endearing radio show.

Despite all that, I wanted to like Love Me. Truly I did. But there were only two things that kept me reading. One was picturing his deliciously rich voice reading to me and the other was an occasional line like this: “Adventure. It saves us from smugness, the sin of the Midwest: that extra topspin you put on the truth when you know they know you’re right; the vanity of the modest, their reflexive remorsefulness, their humorlessness a little glorious stupidity can be a tonic.”

See? A few lines like that and I can wade through a lot of 60-year-old angst about nudity. For lovers of Garrison Keillor, you must, and for everyone else, you probably should skip Love Me, where all the women are not strong, the men not good looking and the children far from above average. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio, I’m Amanda Dickson.

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