It’s always weird for me to read a book about North Dakota, fiction or non-fiction. Either way, I’m critical. Maybe it’s because we don’t have a lot of books written about us and when we do, it’s usually like Christian Romance set in the 1880′s. Or it has something to do with Theodore Roosevelt, who didn’t really stay here for all that long. But he did like us. We’re just that cool. Maybe I’m just exaggerating but that’s what it feels like.
Let me explain why this subject has come up. Monday I went over to the library, mainly to go talk to the librarian about something but I ended up looking for an audio book that was simple but still really good. She suggested Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman. Check him out here. If you don’t want to, he’s a NoDaker, which I’m okay with, and he moved out-of-state for his career, which I get. Anyway, he wrote about a town in North Dakota between Jamestown and Fargo.
The problem I think I have with books, mainly fiction books, set in North Dakota is how everything and everyone is portrayed in them. The movie Fargo didn’t help our case much, don’t ya know. (sarcasm, anyone catch that?) Yes, we have a lot of farmers, a lot of oil in the western part and a whole heck of a lot of a lot of small towns. But we aren’t all that ignorant. I read an article once where someone moved into a small ND town and hated it and everyone was so mean to them. Well, I skeptical, only because I didn’t think all the facts were there. Anyway, we’re not like that.
Back to Klosterman’s book. I’m half way through it. It’s not bad. So far, it’s a relatively true-to-life, fictionalized piece of work. (I hope that made sense, it at least made sense in my head. Let me know if I need to clarify that.) I can name some people from my childhood that are like these people. They even talked about the infamous, REAL, shoot-out by Medina with the crazy, non-taxpayer and the feds. I was glad he put that in.
P.S. did anyone hear about that girl who the judge had her at a $5000 bail, increased it another $5000 when she said adios and then she flipped him off and called him a name and he gave her 30 days and the $10000? I thought she deserved it. I haven’t ever had to go to court but, seriously, learn how to act when you go to court. Sorry, that wasn’t relevant to anything.
So far it’s talking about things that really are topics in our conversation, football (in the fall), crops, livestock, etc. It’s set in the early 80′s which makes it even more fun because who didn’t like the early 80′s? It’s also from different people’s perspective. A teenager, a new teacher from out-of-state and this other guy. A nice round collection of people who have different perspectives of life.
There are things I don’t care for. The teacher who’s gotten numerous teenage girls pregnant, it happens, but I don’t know a teacher who would do that. That’s the main thing that bothers me but I’m not done with it yet.
I’ll probably talk about the other half when I’m done with it. I guess it’s good. I’m not completely in love with it, but it’s not bad. There’s been worse books/movies that have been set in North Dakota. So, I’ll be back another day with an update on this book.