Rhubarb is one of the four Stories from the Collection Lake Wobegon USA HighBridge Audio has recently released on CD. The four News From Lake Wobegon stories by Garrison Keillor date back to 1991. They are Rhubarb, Sweet Corn, The Sun’s Gonna Shine Someday, and Yellow Ribbon.

Rhubarb is a very good story. It is also an easy to figure out metaphor. Dorothy of the Chatterbox Café bakes a batch of rhubarb pies and the folks in Lake Wobegon partake in the feast. Rhubarb is a free, bittersweet vegetable that anyone can grow and does not have any advertising campaign; rhubarb is pretty much like happiness.

The closing story on Lake Wobegon U.S.A.: Rhubarb mp3 version Yellow Ribbon, has the roof collapsing on the old movie theatre and Garrison Keillor waxing poetic on being a teenager and movie theatres. The core of his story however is about individuality and social pressure: Clint Bunsen of Bunsen Motors buys a wood sculpture that might shock people and so be bad for business; David Tollerud is the only student at the high school who does not wear a yellow ribbon (the first Gulf war) and gets a lot of grief and a suspension for it. The question asked here is when things are hard, why make them harder? David Tollerud learns being an individual is hard in a place where the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.Sweet Corn is a rather different story about an older couple eloping.  It does take a while to get going but it is fun. The Sun’s Gonna Shine Someday has a sculpture of a naked woman falling off the Mercantile building. It is a decent story but not particularly memorable.

Fans of Lake Wobegon CD collections will appreciate the fact the four CDs in the stories from Lake Wobegon U.S.A kept the same uniform design as the original tape release so the collection looks good together. We have a Garrison Keillor dedicated page with more reviews

Lake Wobegon USA – Rhubarb
Garrison Keillor
Highbridge Audio 2008
76 minutes

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