Book review: Michael Perry’s ‘Danger, Man Working’ offers insights from a pig farmer

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

From reviewing presidents, we move to the thoughts of self-described pig farmer Michael Perry.

“Just keep shoveling until you’ve got a pile so big, someone has to notice” is Michael’s advice to aspiring writers. Reading “Danger, Man Working” allows one to understand what he means by this, though the title gives a clue.

Taken from 15 years as a freelance writer, the book covers a wide variety of subjects, most with Michael’s humorous, insightful approach to life. You may know Michael Perry from bestselling “Population 485” (about a small-town volunteer fire department), one of his other best sellers; his role as host of Big Tent Chautauqua; or his “Roughneck Grace” column in the State Journal. If not, “Danger” is a good place to start. If you do know him, it’s just a good read.

With articles such as “My Daughter’s Father,” “Why Men Get a Bang out of Guns,” and “Health Secrets from the Morgue,” you get a view into Michael’s world. Much of his writing is the result of his unique personal take on life.

Did I mention that Michael also is a musician? His band, The Long Beds (you’ll have to read another one of his books to understand the name), makes music a constant in his life, and the last section of the book deals with some of his musical influences. Do you know Molly and the Heymakers or Lightnin’ Hopkins? Read the book and you’ll get an introduction. And then you may want to look them up on YouTube, like I did.

In a section called, “A Philosopher for the Rest of Us,” Michael introduces us to the philosopher Montaigne. (I had to Google him.) “Montaigne taught us the most important political lesson of all: never miss a meeting or you will find yourself in charge of the office Christmas party.”

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