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Book Reviews
Oddball Michigan: Guide to 450 Really Strange ...
By: Jerome Pohlen
(Paperback / Chicago Review Press / 352 Pages / $12.65)

Description: There’s more to Michigan than beautiful forests, shuttered factories, and miles and miles of stunning shoreline. Armed with this offbeat travel guide, you’ll soon discover the strange underbelly of the Great Lakes State.

Verdict: Trust me, I live here in Michigan and I didn't know about 60% of these brightly weird and wonderful finds! I mean sure, I'm an Ex-Pat (transferred in from the UK 23 years ago), but still, I've been here 23 years, been all around the States and yet most all of these wondrous MI discoveries found here in this book have remained closed to me thus far.

So imagine what this book will do for you, a non-Michigander!

But first, to get to know the book you have to get to know the author. Jerome Pohlen is an editor and travel writer whose travel writing has appeared in the Chicago Reader, Readers Digest, and TimeOut Chicago. He is the author of this fascinating Oddball book series Progressive Nation and has also been a regular contributor on travel and culture for the 848 Show on WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR affiliate.

As for the book itself, well, combining humorous histories and witty observations, 'Oddball Michigan: A Guide to 450 Really Strange Places' also gives you driving directions for each of its 450 entries! But wait, I'm not done yet! For this wonderful, ingenious book also provides addresses, websites, hours, and even fees of entry to these places; if such a thing exists at that time!

And just what "oddball" places in MI are we referring to, pray tell, I hear you ask? Well, how about it's where you’ll find the World’s Largest Lugnut, the Nun Doll Museum, Joe’s Gizzard City, the Teenie-Weenie Pickle Barrel Cottage, Howdy Doody, and Thomas Edison’s last breath! But wait, there's much more! Like MI monuments to fluoridation, snurfing (don't ask!), the designer of the Jefferson nickel, and the once-famous Mr. Chicken, as well as festivals honoring tulips, Christmas pickles, and a 38-acre fungus!

And as if all that wasn't enough, it gets weirder! How about some of its weird history coming out to play! Such as it’s where Harry Houdini perished on Halloween night in 1926, where skater Tanya Harding’s posse whacked Nancy Kerrigan, and where the Kellogg brothers invented popular breakfast cereals and less-popular yogurt enemas!!!