The Blue Caterpillar and Other Essays by SAMUEL F. PICKERING

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Movie-Goers know him as the inspiration for the lead role in Dead Poets' Society (as played by Robin Williams), but thousands of devoted readers also know Sam Pickering for the wit, keen insight, and lively prose style exhibited here in seven previous volumes of familiar essays. In the title piece, Pickering is the Blue Caterpillar, a role he is asked to play in his daughter's elementary school production of Alice in Wonderland, a role which strikes Pickering - and will strike his readers - as wonderfully appropriate. Funny and moving, these essays seem born of the murky inkling a caterpillar must have that things are changing, and it is to the changes, especially the small ones, that Pickering attends. Language changes, ideas of family change, Republicans change, the South changes. In "There Have Been Changes," Pickering remarks that "domestic change is cyclical and wifely." In other essays his two sons suddenly seem distant, and his daughter acquires a new talent at summer camp: "becoming the best mooner in the cabin." Pets - tadpoles and salamanders, dogs, hamsters, kittens, and a baby squirrel - join and take their leave of the Pickering household. In "Down" his wife decides (very much against his wishes) to pierce her ears. Fifteen hundred miles away, an uncle grows old and needs care-taking. Pickering himself grows older. And of course, the seasons change.


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Sam Pickering is Professor of English at University of Connecticut in Storrs. He's the author of more than a dozen books of essays, including "Trespassing," "The Blue Caterpillar and Other Essays," and "The Last Book," He is married and has three children.
Published February 3, 1997 by University Press of Florida. 229 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Though he makes much of his homespunness, what you'll find here are well-mulled, polished little ""nostrums for the mind."" Picketing is a student of landscape and the natural world (""Knowing place is more important than knowing self""), and also of the everyday comings and goings of our species.

Mar 01 1997 | Read Full Review of The Blue Caterpillar and Othe...

Publishers Weekly

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In ""Down,"" which begins and ends with his wife's decision to pierce her ears, Pickering covers a back injury, catalogue-shopping for a Buck knife, an interview with a weak-bladdered foreign journalist and a foray into the lives of imaginary Tennesseans named Slubey, Luburl and Pearline.

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