Dollarapalooza or The Day Peace Broke Out in Columbus

Overview

This sprawling, footnoted, comedic epic centers around Vonn Carp, who travels to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, for a funeral. He is returning disgraced and destitute, when, after a long and productive career in higher education, he was discovered to have falsified his academic credentials 20 years prior. Recently divorced and suddenly unemployable, he reluctantly agrees to join his father, Milt, in what he considers an iffy business venture—Dollarapalooza, a family-owned ...

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Dollarapalooza or The Day Peace Broke Out in Columbus

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Overview

This sprawling, footnoted, comedic epic centers around Vonn Carp, who travels to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, for a funeral. He is returning disgraced and destitute, when, after a long and productive career in higher education, he was discovered to have falsified his academic credentials 20 years prior. Recently divorced and suddenly unemployable, he reluctantly agrees to join his father, Milt, in what he considers an iffy business venture—Dollarapalooza, a family-owned dollar store.

For Milt the shop is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for old fashioned mercantilism, a “general” store. The store falls on hard times when a massive, big box “Wow-Mart” opens across the street and after a nearly tragic armed robbery in his store, Milt disappears. To the surprise and chagrin of the Carp family, Vonn insists on re-opening Dollarapalooza. Along with the store’s eccentric staff, Vonn fashions an alternative business model aiming to make a difference in people’s lives “one dollar at a time.” For just one dollar, Vonn will answer anybody’s question on any topic, and the citizens of Columbus come to him seeking his opinions on subjects like love, celibacy, anthropology, metaphysics, the Internet, and the true meaning of value. Through his interactions with the store’s staff and customers, he conceives a new way of life with a changed outlook and a restored sense of purpose.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Dollarpalooza has a host of memorable and varied characters, a compelling narrative, and vivid descriptions of place. Some of the best moments for me were rooted in concrete data—like the catalog of items that were going into the dollar store and the cataloging of customer types who came to the store.  I also very much enjoyed the various observations about Columbus.”—Jim Heynen, author of The One-room Schoolhouse

Library Journal
The dysfunctional Carp family seems to be at its best during times of trouble, and if trouble doesn't find them, they make their own. When milkman Milt Carp retires from his daily route and fulfills his lifelong dream of opening a dollar store, he infuriates his wife, who has wanted for years to retire to Florida. Most of the family supports her, except for Vonn, their ne'er-do-well son, who joins Milt in his venture. But beset with family discontent, declining revenues, and the looming threat of a new Wow-Mart SuperbCenter being built across the street, Milt scraps his dream, leaving Vonn to run the store. Despite a lifelong loser mentality, Vonn rises to the occasion, adopts a down-home business model designed to make a difference in people's lives "one dollar at a time," fights Wow-Mart with innovative programming and pricing, and gradually wins the family (except for Mamma) to his way of thinking. VERDICT This debut by librarian and longtime LJ reviewer Sapp is a fun-filled fantasy in which the little guy wins through chutzpah, luck, and great good humor. Mix in large helpings of homey philosophy, common sense, and truth, lavishly documented with footnotes, and you have an outside-the-box tale too good to miss. [Switchgrass Books is dedicated to Midwestern literary fiction.—Ed.]—Thomas L. Kilpatrick, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875806464
  • Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 515
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregg Sapp, a native Ohioan, is a writer, librarian, college teacher, and academic administrator. This is his first novel.

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Read an Excerpt

Vonn knew that Columbus had always had an inferiority complex about being sandwiched between Cincinnati and Cleveland, two bonafide big league towns with major league franchises to prove it. (And, hell, even plain old Indianapolis had a stolen football team.) Somehow, though, a hockey team and a soccer squad didn’t seem “genuine” go him: a sentiment which Milt expressed when he grumbled, “Them’s just games for canucks and quiche eaters. We’re here for baseball, goddamnit.”

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