More and more, as I read Micki Peluso’s autobiography covering twenty-two years in her life, I was reminded of eleven words in Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. “Camerado, this is no book, Who touches this touches a man.” In her case, it is a woman we touch, and the reader learns who the author is as few characters we ever come to know either in fiction or nonfiction. In addition, we come to know her husband Butch and her six children as they are born, develop, interact, clash with each other, encounter problems, and sometimes go their separate ways.
And The Whippoorwill Sang presents a journey that is both inspiring and painful. It will make you laugh and cry, and it is structured around the grievous, heartbreaking injury to one of their children who is left shattered along the road by a hit and run driver. There are parts of this book which I find unforgettable, and some of the writing is especially fine. Generally one is supposed to avoid using pathetic fallacies, but I love Peluso’s statement that the “sun had the dignity not to shine” at Noelle’s funeral. There is a great deal more wonderful writing as well.
This book is many things. At times, it’s a sprawling story of misadventures, as when the Peluso family makes its grand westward trek out to Las Vegas and back again. Readers can laugh at some of the mistakes along the way, perhaps remembering ones they’ve made. This memoir is also a complex study of the relationship between a wife and husband and her attempts to understand him and improve their marriage. Plus, we receive fully realized portraits of all six of her children. They come alive on her pages! If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Noelle.
Add to all this the author’s mother; Micki’s many friends and acquaintances; the backstory of how she came to get married and change her religion; Butch’s quitting jobs and their persistent financial problems; the wonderful, haunted farmhouse they lived in; plus too many other subjects to mention, and we have a book piled to the rafters with subjects that keep us reading. One last thing: the author mentioned to me she had doubts about the title. Well, to me, And The Whippoorwill Sang is perfect, literary, and most appropriate. Don’t take my word for it. Read the book and see for yourself.
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From the author's blogspot: http://mallie1025.blogspot.com: