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Hazen & Wren on Peter Smith's latest

By Wren
Hazel & Wren

Smith_Cavalcade coverThis book of nonfiction essays from Peter Smith reminded me of two of my uncles, who inevitably end every family function with everyone gathered ’round while they recount stories from their childhood on the farm, the kooky hired hands, complete with spot-on imitations and lots of wheezy laughter. These are some of my favorite memories of my own childhood, and the association with this book is a welcome warmth. The essays are relatable and understated with golden moments of humor and reflection. The stories start with Smith’s childhood as a Catholic kid growing up in Chicago with eight siblings, and moves on through his life, from his move to Minnesota for college, all the way to his father’s deathbed. He looks at each moment of these essays as an opportunity to learn, to reflect, and to laugh.

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