Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: My Family and Other Hazards by June Melby

A funny, heartwarming memoir about saying goodbye to your childhood home, in this case a quirky, one-of-a-kind, family-run miniature golf course in the woods of Wisconsin

When June Melby was ten years old, her parents decided on a whim to buy the miniature golf course in the small Wisconsin town where they vacationed every summer. Without any business experience or outside employees, the family sets out to open Tom Thumb Miniature Golf to the public. Naturally, there are bumps along the way. In My Family and Other Hazards, Melby recreates all the squabbling, confusion, and ultimately triumph, of one family’s quest to build something together, and brings to life the joys of one of America’s favorite pastimes. In sharp, funny prose, we get the hazards that taunted players at each hole, and the dedication and hard work that went into each one’s creation. All the familiar delights of summer are here—snowcones and popcorn and long days spent with people you love. 

Melby’s relationship with the course is love-hate from the beginning, given the summer’s freedom it robs her of, but when her parents decide to sell the course years later, her panicked reaction surprises even her. Now an adult living in Hollywood, having flown the Midwest long ago, she flies back to the course to help run it before the sale goes through, wondering if she should try to stop it. As the clock ticks, she reflects on what the course meant to her both as a child and an adult, the simpler era that it represents, and the particular pains of losing your childhood home, even years after you’ve left it.

Received for review.

I wasn't sure what to expect at first but this sounded like an amusing read and it was, but that was about it.

This wasn't really a memoir either.  It was more of a collection of stories about her family running their miniature golf course.  The family seemed like nice people but there was nothing special or particularly interesting about them besides their business.  

The stories were amusing but they were presented in such a way that they didn't fulfill their potential.  At one point the author's sister is covered in paint and there's a bland explanation of how it happened, how it was removed, and the aftermath (the sister got extra dinner and cake that night).  There was no real feeling to any of it.

Overall, this is a light, fast read that is perfect for those who want something fluffy and fun.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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