Veteran salesman Peter Waldmann is on a routine sales call when he is surprised to find that the new purchasing agent he is calling on is none other than John Stemple, his very best friend from high school, 40 years earlier. When John invites him to come on a deer hunt with him in Edgerton, Wisconsin, a place Peter hasn't returned to in 40 years, he embarks on a journey to the past that will forever have a lasting effect on his future.
In The Deer/Dear Hunt, author Alan M. Oberdeck explores the threads of life that affect everyone. See life through the eyes of a man who committed a stupid, youthful act that left him maimed and cost him the love of his life, Linda Leigh Swensen. When Peter and Linda accidentally meet, he is forced to ask the question, can you ever go back again?
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A story about the lives of people across time
After listening to the audiobook Deliverance I really wanted to find something else on par with that genre as Deliverance is a darn good story with excellent narration. Or at least something that focused on the outdoors and hunting. This desire led me to this book.I would say the book isn't much about hunting. It's more about a romantic coincidence in the life of an average Joe. Usually, in these sorts of stories the hunting theme is used as an analogy to some trigger event in the life of the protagonist. I suppose if I thought hard enough I might find such a linkage in this story but in general I think it's fairly weak. That said the story is entertaining. It just isn't a macho manly man hunting story.I think the author would have benefited from better editing. I got used to hearing the same descriptive words used in the same sentence or in two sentences next to each other. For example the author might have used the following types of wording choices: "It was a rather strange thing for her to say but he paid the bill and strangely enough he had the exact change." These sorts of word choices are littered throughout the book. It doesn't ruin the story but it is a little annoying.
The main character simply because he and his love interest were really the only 2 people the reader could possibly care about and we never really get to know the love interest all that well.
Hum, this is a tricky one. Mark sounds like an everyday average joe but slightly on the wimpy side. It sort of fits the inexperienced hunter persona the author is trying to portray and it also fits the inexperienced lover he is also trying to portray. There I go using the same descriptor in the same sentence. But my point is that I don't really buy it that such a wimp would travel across the country to hunt with someone who stands him up. Maybe it's that Mark's performance is wimpy but a little happy go lucky at the same time? I just don't believe such a combination would be a person who goes out and buys a shotgun never having shot a gun before and then decides to attempt to hunt even though his best friend who was going to show him how it's done bails on the vacation. I also don't buy it that such a character could be a successful salesperson. Now that's just my stereotyping but aren't most performances characterizations of something believable? I think the narration is a little too happy go lucky and perhaps the character would have been better served as someone depressed who discovers something on this trip which saves his soul. I just didn't get that impression but I thought that's where this story was heading at least that's usually where it goes in this lost love coincidence style genre.
OK, maybe. It was entertaining. It could have used more drama in the hunting aspect of the story to link to the romantic drama. Some sort of foreshadowing. I guess that might have been there but it wasn't as stark as it was in Deliverance. In Deliverance, the main character is shown to be a flawed hero early on in the story when he wakes up early, sneaks out of camp to shoot a deer and misses because he gets a case of jumpy nerves. This drama is used later in the story when the main character is the only able bodied survivor who can end the potential murder of his friends by himself murdering his enemy. In the back of the reader's mind we are thinking he might not be up to the task because he's the same guy who couldn't shoot a deer. If he can't shoot a deer, he certainly won't be able to kill a man.I guess with A Salesman's Guide to Hunting there isn't any foreshadowing in the deer hunt that leads us to suspect something will happen to the blossoming relationship. In fact, I felt the hunting element of the story was fairly divorced from the relationship with the exception that hunting created a space for the author to describe the past and fill out the relationship story. This was good for the relationship element of the story but it came at the expense of the hunting element which is a reach anyway for the reader to make. My main point is that I just can't see why hunting had to be a part of this story. The hunting trip itself is so unrealistic that I just didn't buy it. And if the guy was a travelling salesman why couldn't he have just been sent on business to this town. I suppose a better editing might have linked the hunting as an allegory to the relationship and not just to create a space for the author to fill in the background of the main character's life. I would have liked a dramatic link in the hunting story which affected the character's decisions in the romance and it wasn't clear to me that such an epiphany occurred.
- Kevin P. Gibbs