Memories of Marshall by Greg Peck
Memoir, 170 pp.
Date published: July 22, 2020
Reviewed by Walter Rhein
Reviewer bio: Small press writer with Perseid Press, Burning Bulb Publishing, and Harren Press. He has a web page about Peru at www.StreetsOfLima.com and can be reached at: email@example.com.
There is a lot of nostalgia in Greg Peck’s collection of stories from growing up in Marshall, WI, and that’s not a bad thing. Memories of Marshall is the kind of work that you kind of hope your parent or grandparent would write as a record of what their life was like growing up. Books of this nature take a different form depending on when an author chooses to sit down and bring them to life. Earlier versions would have contained more details, but might not feature the warm appreciation for bygone years.
Greg Peck graduated from high school in 1975, and I found many of his memories brought back reflections of my own childhood. I was born in 1975 and graduated in 1993, so I experienced firsthand much of what Peck discusses even if some of the situations didn’t have quite the formative influence on me. Like Peck, I remember carnivals with nausea inducing rides coming to town and setting up in a field. I remember hunting and fishing trips, and have my own stories about awkwardly approaching girls in my teens.
Some of the chapters in this book have appeared in newspapers, and Peck is a member and former board member of the Wisconsin Writers Association. The writing is authentic and of high quality. The authenticity is probably what I liked most about the book. Peck made the choice to craft highly accurate scenes of Wisconsin life from decades ago. The book doesn’t draw you in with snappy dialogue or dynamic characters, but it does have the capacity to show you a snapshot in time of many places and events that no longer exist.
Much of Memories of Marshall brought me back to my own days wandering the streets of Spooner, Wisconsin. Many of Peck’s words caused me to reflect on things I haven’t considered for decades. There is always a value in dredging up your old memories, and sometimes it’s remarkable the stuff you find kicking around in the dark corners of your mind. Often, that stuff is a lot better than you remember.
Anyone who grew up in Wisconsin or the surrounding Midwest states will find something to appreciate in Memories of Marshall. If you’d like to know more about a parent or a relative who lived in that area in that time, Peck’s work will allow you to get to know that person a bit better. This is a quality book which combines the joy of childhood wonder with an adult perspective that’s wise enough to understand the precious nature of our memories.
Wisconsin Writers Association
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