Mom Reviews: House of Coates by Brad Zellar


I saw that [my son] Tom had recommended “House of Coates.” He is a good judge of reading material, considering he is three and a half decades younger than I, and so I decided to order it from Amazon. (It arrived the next day, BTW.)

Wow! Looking at the pictures I was really taken back to my youth. I grew up in Red Wing and the route to the airport and Southdale Shopping Center took us by the places Lester describes in the book – House of Coates (great burgers), the Airliner Motel, the travel plaza, and most notably the Pine Bend refinery; those flames always freaked me out a bit, still do. The picture of the airplane mounted on the roof of the motel has always stuck in my mind.

Nostalgia aside, the book is so different, so good, intriguing. I can see why J.K. Berger needed to take a field trip.  Every character is rich, deep, disturbed – maybe so or maybe not. Decide for yourself.

Was Majel a savior? The priest an outcast? What about Lester?

What about Lester? Incapable of handling the complicated forms of collaborations that adulthood demands. Do you envy him? Pity him?

Mary Johnson is a RN in Fenton, Michigan. She is also the editor’s mom.
Order House of Coates by Brad Zellar and Alec Soth here or here.


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