The people of the plains are not easily impressed. They scoff at east coast puffery, wrinkle noses at west coast trendism. They are a common sense, no-nonsense lot with a work ethic unequaled in America. They do not embrace easily writers, philosophers or humorists. Yet Tony Bender has been embraced out here on the prairie. For in his writing, on pages turned by tired, callused hands, the people of the high plains recognize themselves. He is in their face, at their side, jabbing, poking, tickling, kicking butt, consoling and always understanding. For more than a decade, Bender's readers have laughed with him and shed secret tears when no one can see behind the pages of a score of small weekly newspapers and medium size dailies in the Dakotas. He has been their loosely-kept secret. They have clipped the columns, and they yellow in scrap books, adorn refrigerators or are mailed off to exotic locales where ex-patriots still yearn for the elbow room and buffalo grass. In 2000, with the publication of his first collection, Loons in the Kitchen, the secret was completely out. New readers raved and bought extra copies, so they could share this powerful voice from the plains who describes unerringly the hard-scrabble farmers and bigger-than-life small-town personalities. Long time readers smiled smugly at the fuss, for he is one of their own. Now Bender is back, his voice growing ever clearer, his vision sharper, his punctuation consistently abysmal. But book editors must have work. With The Great and Mighty Da-Da, Bender returns with new missives, unique insights and common sense philosophies. Bender is back. Well, the truth is, he never really went away.
Used availability for Tony Bender's The Great and Mighty Da-da
November 2001 : USA Paperback