In my last review of Augusten Burroughs' work, Magical Thinking,…
As the only person in my family born and bred in Wisconsin, I have had life experiences that were not available to my Minnesota kin. For example, I have been to and enjoyed many cheese houses in my time. Family traditions of babies and toddlers sampling the local brew are commonplace in America's Dairyland. Growing up in the land of cheese means that youngsters were schooled early in agriculture. Knowing how to tell the difference between a Holstein and a Jersey cow was essential knowledge for one to grow up and become a healthy consumer of beer and cheese.
It was from this context that I was able to even crack open True Cow Tales. A self-published book from Dog Ear Publishing, True Cow Tales has forty stories from many different people who love cows and the dairy farm culture. Edited by C.R. Lindemer, True Cow Tales has stories about all facets of the bovine experience, including favorite cows, 4-H experiences, and dairy princesses.
True Cow Tales, being a self-published book, has a certain amateur feel about it that one needs to accept in order to appreciate the content. For example, the formatting of the book is a little off, as the editor made the choice to include a contributor's full bio after each story they authored in the book (I read Kermit Dietrich's four times). Being a book of stories written by people that are probably not writers means the occasional grammatical error will manifest itself, not unlike a typical sampling of Facebook status updates.
These are stories about cows, similar to stories about one's cat. These stories involve drama, goofiness, and the occasional escape, much like listening to stories told by Angela Martin. The section about dairy princesses is interesting, since a typical family trip to the Minnesota State Fair involves a viewing of Princess Kay of the Milky Way's head carved in a giant block of butter. However, unless you have a deep love for dairy farming, cattle, and possess a healthy acceptance of amateurism, you may want to skip reading True Cow Tales.