My Family and Other Hazards: A Memoir

June Melby. Holt, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9831-0
Hazards are the obstacles artfully placed on the 18 holes of a miniature golf course to challenge the players, and in her endearing memoir of her summers helping her parents run the Tom Thumb Miniature Golf in Wisconsin, former comedienne and first-time author Melby cleverly arranges her chapters according to the hazards on their own course. The Rocket, the Outhouse, the One with the Hill in the Middle, the Barrels: these form the enchanting themes of her summers since age 10, when her schoolteacher parents first bought the Tom Thumb and the family made their initial trek right after school closed from their home in Iowa to the chilly, lovely northern Bass Lake to refurbish, clean, and run the golf course for the summer tourists. It required constant toil from all the family members, including Melby and her two sisters, one older, one younger; yet the ceaseless work, involving scraping, painting, raking, and repairing of the motors that ran the hazards, was a true labor of love, since the parents undercharged, doted on the customers, and never seemed to make a profit. Yet after 30 years of making popcorn, sno-cones, and cotton candy, in July 2003, Melby’s aging parents were ready to sell and move on, instigating an outpouring of tender, witty memories by Melby, now 40, having moved to Los Angeles and tried heroically to ply her craft as a stand-up comic. Melby showcases her corny, unaffected, Midwestern humor in this inspired work. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/14/2014
Release date: 07/08/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-8050-9832-7
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