Star Tribune likes Peter Smith's A Cavalcade of Lesser Horrors

By Jim Carmin
Star Tribune

Peter Smith's wonderfully titled new book collects 33 brief essays in a touching memoir of growing up in Chicago, moving to the suburb of Libertyville to escape a polio epidemic, then onward to what he calls "ma belle Minnesota." After a long career in advertising (the "false God and acid bath," as he describes it), Smith became known for his touching commentaries on Minnesota Public Radio, many of which were collected in his first book, "A Porch Sofa Almanac."

Despite his professed misgivings of being a copywriter, it has served him well: With precise language he tells a good story with elegant descriptions, laced with the minor calamities of life, and woven with touches of wry humor. And it hasn't hurt that his life has had rich source material: He was raised in a family of nine kids (his parents were good Catholics, "recidivist reproducers") and his father was a nighttime police reporter for the Chicago Daily News.

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