Every morning I drink coffee and check my Google alerts. This morning a gem: A blogger professing their love for Poe Ballantine’s novel Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire. I was expecting media hits on Poe’s memoir, Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere, because Dave Jannetta’s documentary based on the memoir premiered last night at the Toronto International Film Festival as a Hot Docs selection. I was hoping to find people online clamoring to get their hands on copies of Love & Terror amid rave reviews, and instead I found Diary of a Mindless Minion blogging about their love for Poe’s novel, Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire.
Minion wrote that the book “has inspired me in many ways. The main character is an idiot like me.” And, simply, “read it.” It was a fair and balanced review of Poe’s work as Minion offered this criticism, “I have but one qualm, actually: What’s up with the title? Never understood it. My guess is that Ballantine just always wanted to name a book, ‘The Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire.’” Yes, Minion, you are right, Poe just wanted to use “Lawrence Welk Empire” in the title because it conjured up a simpler time in life for him, exactly like your memory:
- “My grandparents indulged me terribly as a child, but the one thing they always insisted upon was that I watch The Lawrence Welk Show with them on the tiny black and white television in their bedroom. They were atheists. I guess other grandparents make their grandchildren go to church with them—that’s what my other grandma did. But I had to buy this book, based solely on the title, and then the book didn’t seem to ever mention ‘The Lawrence Welk Show.’ Still, five of five stars. I loved the book.”
Our blogger is Shoshanah Lee Marohn, and she has a book called Exhaust(ed): The 99% true story of a bus trip gone wrong. If you buy her eBook, 10% of book proceeds are donated to The Sun Magazine.