Jerry Nelson says he got his start as a humor columnist when he sent a letter to the county agent asking for help removing cattails, ducks and tourists from his flooded field one wet North Dakota spring. The agent suggested he try writing a column for farm magazines. Jerry was successful and now with Dear County Agent Guy: Calf Pulling, Husband Training, and Other Curious Dispatches from a Midwestern Dairy Farmer we non farm magazine readers can enjoy the his work too.
Jerry Nelson writes simply and from himself and the result is a series of funny articles that read from the heart, not at all contrived. His columns range from memories growing up, courting his wife, suggesting his wife’s obstetrician use a calf puller on the slow-to-arrive oldest child and thoughts about raising kids, thrift and farming. I enjoyed them.
The columns are funny because Nelson finds humor in simple, every day things. He is not mean nor contemptuous nor snide nor sarcastic. There is a wide streak of potty humor with a couple stories about changing diapers, handling manure, not bathing and using the side of the barn as a convenient substitute for the indoor bathroom. Even though I’m not crazy about potty humor the stories were in good fun and a couple of the jokes were pretty funny.
Nelson never preaches or comes across as advising people on how to run their lives, or to save money or to enjoy the outdoors and friends and family. Nonetheless it’s obvious that these virtues are among the reasons he is happy and if anyone wants to emulate him, well, they got a few good suggestions.
Dear County Agent Guy will appeal to anyone who enjoys the outdoors, not just farmers. Nelson explains the farming background with minimal detail, enough to clarify what he’s talking about but not so much that we readers feel we need to become dairy farmers to enjoy his work.
I received an advance copy through NetGalley in expectation of an honest review. The E book could use some copy editing to clean up the format. The overall writing needs little editing – for one thing these were taken from magazine columns and for another Nelson’s style is good and his sentences, spelling and such are already readable.
Overall I would give this 4 stars.