How to Talk Minnesotan: A Visitor's Guide

Howard Mohr, Author Penguin Books $14 (221p) ISBN 978-0-14-009284-4
Those looking for someone to fill Garrison Keillor's trademark red socks will not be appeased by Mohr, who was a writer for A Prairie Home Companion. There is a similarity in the book's wryness to the humor in the show, and there are dummied-up ads of local businesses. But despite the book's subtitle, this isn't really about Minnesota: some of the humor is based on the idiosyncracies and colloquialisms of the region, but most of it can be applied to just about any state. Still, Mohr has found some purely Minnesotan motifs: the section on starting the car in winter will ring true to anyone who has survived the experience; his few, well-chosen words on going to the lake or the cabin is acutely observed; and his attitude about lutefisk, a dish that natives consume more out of a sense of duty than with relish, strikes just the right tone (he regrets having to mention it altogether). But he misses and skims over some genuine regionalisms (where's uffda?), invents others, and usually strains to make a point. Because his humorous account of Minnesota invites comparison with Keillor, the book is found wanting. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-942110-18-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-56511-493-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0295-4
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-14-312269-2
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