My Family and Other Hazards (Hardcover)

By June Melby

Henry Holt & Company, 9780805098310, 300pp.

Publication Date: July 8, 2014

List Price: 25.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A funny, heartwarming memoir about saying goodbye to your childhood home, in this case a quirky, one-of-a-kind, family-run miniature golf course in the woods of Wisconsin

When June Melby was ten years old, her parents decided on a whim to buy the miniature golf course in the small Wisconsin town where they vacationed every summer. Without any business experience or outside employees, the family sets out to open Tom Thumb Miniature Golf to the public. Naturally, there are bumps along the way. In My Family and Other Hazards, Melby recreates all the squabbling, confusion, and ultimately triumph, of one family's quest to build something together, and brings to life the joys of one of America's favorite pastimes. In sharp, funny prose, we get the hazards that taunted players at each hole, and the dedication and hard work that went into each one's creation. All the familiar delights of summer are here--snowcones and popcorn and long days spent with people you love.

Melby's relationship with the course is love-hate from the beginning, given the summer's freedom it robs her of, but when her parents decide to sell the course years later, her panicked reaction surprises even her. Now an adult living in Hollywood, having flown the Midwest long ago, she flies back to the course to help run it before the sale goes through, wondering if she should try to stop it. As the clock ticks, she reflects on what the course meant to her both as a child and an adult, the simpler era that it represents, and the particular pains of losing your childhood home, even years after you've left it.

About the Author

June Melby's work has appeared in McSweeney's, LA Weekly, and National Lampoon Magazine, among other places. In 2011 she was a Writing Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and in 2003 received the International Artist Award and residency from the City of Hamburg Kulturbehorde (Cultural Affairs Department). In 2002 she was the winner of the Children's Poetry Award at the Edinburgh International Poetry Festival. She lives in Decorah, Iowa.

Praise For My Family and Other Hazards

"Enchanting . . . An outpouring of tender, witty memories . . . Melby showcases her corny, unaffected Midwestern humor in this inspired work." —Publishers Weekly

"I bet you’ve never picked up a memoir about miniature golf before now. Neither had I! But June Melby’s deeply funny and endearing book goes far beyond novelty to tell an evocative story about memory, family, and the perfection of Midwestern summers."—Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie.“Thanks to June's witty and poetic recollections, you don't just read this book -- you become part of the Melby family.  And that's a helluva ride, because besides being wildly funny, the Melbys have a lot to teach us all about the meaning of the word ‘success.’”—Mishna Wolff, author of I’m Down"In this utterly hilarious and deeply moving memoir, June Melby recounts her unusual childhood growing up in a family who ran a miniature golf course. Impossible to put down for its witty and conversational style, you'll turn the last page reminded that the places we call home are often carved from the times we feel the farthest from it. An impressive debut from a deserving writer."—Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance"My Family and Other Hazards is a winning, charming memoir about summers spent at a family-owned mini-golf course in Wisconsin. I would have loved this even if I wasn’t the former Junior Putt-Putt Champion of Chautauqua, New York. Funny and nostalgic without being sentimental, Melby deftly captures her family’s seemingly endless lakeside summers and the inevitable letting go of childhood. A perfect summer book." —Rob Spillman, editor of Tin House "My Family and Other Hazards is a perfect balance of wit and warmth: you start off laughing at a perfectly executed running joke about the forgotten youngest child or the portrait of a family's competitive, compulsive generosity, but by the end you realize June Melby has been building a rich, generous, and loving portrait of her parents all along."—Michelle Wildgen, author of Bread and Butter