Book 52, a book written in 1985 (the year you were born), Lake Woebegon Days by Garrison Keillor
What we have here is another example of a book I desperately wanted to love, but just couldn’t for the life of me get into. Once when I worked in a call center, an elderly caller asked if I remembered the ’50’s. When I said, “No ma’am, I wasn’t born until the ’80’s,” she said, “well, let me tell you about how amazing it was” and proceeded to tell me for forty-five long minutes every detail of the 1950’s that she could remember before I could finally extricate myself from the call. If you’ve ever sat with a grandparent or elder and listened to them begin to tell you a story, then completely devolve into an off tangent recount of their entire past, that is a similar experience in Keillor’s book. In some ways it is charming. There are feel-good moments and weird historical blurbs that make you go “huh. Interesting choice to include that…” but mostly after about fifty pages it all sort of blends together and becomes a blur of similar but not quite the same. My mistake was going into this thinking there would be a linear plot. There isn’t. It’s the historical retelling of the town. If you’re into that, you’ll love this book. I don’t think I was adequately prepared for what I was getting myself into.
Other than the issue of looking for a fictional plot and finding what felt like an oral historical recount, the writing is of course beautifully done. We’d expect nothing less from Keillor. Unfortunately for me, it just wasn’t enough to hold my attention for very long. I had a very difficult time finishing this book. I wish you better luck!