A Garrison Keillor audio book is far superior to the paper version. I have tried reading his books many times and rarely managed to get through one. If Garrison Keillor reads his novel, as with the 7 CD audiobook version of Pontoon A Novel of Lake Wobegon, enjoying it is no problem. Keillor's very episodic and rambling style does not work well on paper while the audio book version of Pontoon is akin to listening to a studio version of News From Lake Wobegon on A Prairie Home Companion.
Granted, the audiobook version of Pontoon A Novel of Lake Wobegon is a somewhat long-winded version of a News segment. This is because this 256 page novel should have been edited down to a novella. A little careful editing would also have avoided slip-ups like a character, Myrtle Krebsbach, being in two places at the same time. On CD, Pontoon is still quite enjoyable though you will probably skip over a few tracks the next time around.
It is not a quiet week in Lake Wobegon. On Saturday, stalwart citizen Evelyn Peterson's memorial celebration is going to take place at the same time and place as pet aroma therapist Debbie Detmer's declaration of love ceremony. This involves a green bowling ball in which Evelyn's ashes have been sealed, a hot air balloon, a flying Elvis, the Agnes D pontoon boat, a parasail, and forty non-believing Danish Lutheran ministers sent to Minnesota as punishment. Make no mistake though, even if a lot of this Garrison Keillor audio book / novel is very comic Pontoon Boat A Novel of Lake Wobegon is darker than the tales on A Prairie Home Companion and features saltier language at times.
Debbie Detmer is an only child and dark sheep who is returning to Lake Wobegon after a fifteen year absence and making a fortune in pet aroma therapy. Evelyn Peterson's daughter Barbara learns her mother, once a pillar of the Lutheran church, had a very secret and pretty wild life as her wishes for a memorial ceremony reveal. Secondary characters and stories, such as Evelyn's now deceased husband, her secret lover, daughter Barbara's ex-husband, her own secret lover, as well as Barbara's son Kyle, the flying Elvis, and Debbie's parents who are perhaps a few Lutherans short a congregation, also get their moments.
A major difference between Garrison Keillor's weekly News From Lake Wobegon and Pontoon A Lake Wobegon Novel and CD audio book is this is a less pastoral and idealist take on the inhabitants of Minnesota's most famous small town, fictional though it may be. Keillor also rambles on, especially when it comes to the secondary characters in passages that tend to become lengthier than a weekly News installment and move the story forward as quickly as molasses on dry ice.
It is fortunate Keillor has a pleasant reading style and voice for the story does ramble on, especially when it comes to the secondary characters in passages that tend to become lengthier than a weekly News installment and move the story forward as quickly as molasses on dry ice. Also, sections of this story are very close to events oft told on Prarie Home Companion. It takes 7 hours to get from Evelyn's death to the Lake Wobegon bowling ball memorial and declaration of love ceremonial day because of the many asides. There are a few tail endings tacked on as if Keillor is trying to find some kind of closure for this story.
The two things that bug me about the Pontoon A Lake Wobegon Novel audiobook CD set are my pet peeves about audio books in general: It would be nice, and probably not particularly complicated, for the publisher to figure out a way to make the packaging the same size as a CD jewel case. I do appreciate cardboard sleeves instead of easy to break jewel cases but the box itself and its spine information are not designed to fit and be read on a CD shelf. Secondly, the tracks on the CDs are of rather whimsical length -in the 7-minute ballpark-and CDs sometimes cut off in mid paragraph.
Other Garrison Keillor Reviews
The Christmas Companion With Garrison Keillor: 2 comedy CD set great stocking stuffer
The Adventures Of Guy Noir: Fans of Prairie Home Companion will certainly enjoy this two sketch comedy CD set
Local Man Moves To The City: different from what you are used to on the Prairie Home Companion show.
A Prairie Home Companion It's Only A Show: Prairie Home Companion compilation from HighBridge Audio,
Comedy Theater: For those who remember a kinder, gentler Prairie Home Companion
Gospel Birds: This Garrison Keillor CD is definitely better than what we have heard in the last couple of years or so as News From Lake Wobegone
Guy Noir Radio Private Eye: Radio Private Eye is only one of two Garrison Keillor CD collections of Guy Noir stories
More News From Lake Wobegon: the stories from More News From Lake Wobegon are funny
Dusty And Lefty The Lives Of The Cowboys: 6 complete stories on this 10-track cowboy comedy CD
Songs Of The Cat: Any cat lover must have this very funny Garrison Keillor CD
Mother, Father, Uncle, Aunt: 2 Garrison Keillor CD set from when Wobegon was not political.
WLT A Radio Romance: How often do you get to suggest to a novelist to stick to the news?
A Prairie Home Companion Commercial Radio: great compilation comedy CD of Prairie Home Companion commercials
A Prairie Home Companion 10th Anniversary: A less preachy time in Lake Wobegon history.
A Prairie Home Companion - The Movie: Decent movie version of Garrisson Keillor Lake Wobegone radio show
Never Better Stories From Lake Wobegon: 10 News From Lake Wobegon on 2 CDs. Good stuff all around.
Lake Wobegon Loyalty Days: includes perhaps Garrison Keillor's best track ever: The Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra.
Pontoon A Lake Wobegon Novel - Audio Book - Capsule Review: A bowling ball containing the ashes of a Lake Wobegon resident is scheduled to be dropped in the lake as another is having a wedding ceremony on it.
More News From Lake Wobegon - Hope: CD reissue of 1989 More News From Lake Wobegon set. A kindler, gentler time and stories
More News From Lake Wobegon - Faith: 4 News segments: Rotten Apples, O Death, The Wise Men, and A trip to Grand Rapids.
English Majors A comedy collection for the highly literate: Perfect gift for the college graduate and funny too.
A Prairie Home Companion - Duets: A who's who of music and the American songbook.
A Prairie Home Companion 4th Annual Farewell Performance: A 2 CD Prairie Home Companion set with more music and less talk.
A Prairie Home Companion 2nd Annual Farewell Performance: A few skits, lots of music including the Everly Brothers: a solid show
A Prairie Home Companion Final Performance: The first final performance. Good but not the best.
A Prairie Home Companion 3rd Annual Farewell Performance: Good stuff including a 2 part 40-minute News From Lake Wobegon
Tourists: Prairie Home Companion CD of esoteric music like klezmer, balalaika, and zydeco
Liberty - A Lake Wobegon Novel - Audio Book: One of the better Lake Wobegon novels, this Garrison Keillor audio book is darker and features some adult situations.
Lake Wobegon USA - Fertility: Prairie Home Companion CD reissue. Finally
Lake Wobegon USA - Patience: Features Aunt Ellie, Duke's 25th, and You're Not the Only One.
Lake Wobegon USA - Youth: Features Blue Devils, Nostalgia, O Christmas Tree, Pageant, and Messy Shoes
Lake Wobegon USA - Rhubarb: Includes Rhubarb, Yellow Ribbon, Sweet Corn, and The Sun's Gonna Shine Someday
Even More Pretty Good Jokes 2CD set: Best of the last 3 years of the Prairie Home Companion Joke Show
A Christmas Blizzard: A non-Lake Wobegon Christmas yarn is decent enough.
Prairie Home Comedy - Radio Songs & Sketches: Lots and lots of musical comedy plus some short skits.
Church People - The Lutherans of Lake Wobegon: Lots of Lutheran based humor the kids are not going to get.
Motherhood: Not quite as good as expected and very loosely about motherhood
Summer Love: A mostly musical record of the Prairie Home Companion 2010 tour in a country western vein.
My Little Town - Stories From Lake Wobegon: 3 CD set includes the story of the Inqvist s departure.