The Man Who Ate the 747

This quirky book was set in Superior, Nebraska, and follows the story of a man who works for the World Book of Records and ends up in Superior to track the progress of a local farmer, who is grinding up and eating a 747 that crashed in his cornfield. Strangly enough, the book is a love story!

Ben Sherwood should have followed the advice commonly given to writers: write what you know. I grew up 15 miles from the real Superior, Nebraska, and although Sherwood got the geography right, he completely missed the mark with his characters. Guess what? Those of us who live in the Heartland are not caricatures. We don't have ridiculous-sounding names, don't wear new overalls as our "Sunday Best" and don't host parades every time a "New Yorker" comes to town.

The details about agriculture were way off...obviously just thrown in to make the story seem as if it were authentic. A five-minute check could have saved those simple mistakes, but nothing will change the stereotypes that abound. It's too bad, because the premise of the story is unique and the humor is well-done. Bottom line: either write what you know or take the time to get to know the kind of people you're writing about.

Review by Leah Krotz