A charming, but ultimately low-stakes, memoir of childhood and basketball.

Growing Up

Schoen recounts his farm boy childhood and college basketball career in this debut memoir.

Born in 1941, the oldest son in a family that would eventually include 13 children, Schoen grew up in rural western Ohio in a community of German Catholics who, despite having lived in the United States for more than a century, had only recently transitioned to speaking primarily in English. Modernization was slow to come to the family farm, which was not yet connected to the electrical grid when Schoen was born. As a boy, he learned to hitch workhorses to the plow and the hayfork. “When I was very young,” Schoen remembers, “the rare appearance of an airplane in the sky prompted a yell to others in the family not to miss the sight.” Horses were eventually replaced by machinery. Likewise, Schoen broke with the tradition of earlier generations of his family by graduating from high school and going on to the University of Dayton on a basketball scholarship. He played starting forward for the UD Flyers, who would eventually win the 1962 National Invitation Tournament championship. Throughout his memoir, Schoen illustrates the importance of work, play, education, and evolving with the times. The prose is cleareyed, and Schoen capably renders the particulars of his youth. The frequent photographs that accompany the text are redolent of rural life in postwar Midwestern America, and even readers with no connection to that time or place will be charmed by this account. The only problem is that Schoen’s life is not especially momentous. Even his basketball accomplishments read as rather unremarkable all these decades later. The book is a very pleasant document of farm life in the 1940s and 1950s, but it is difficult to imagine the memoir being of interest to many people who aren’t directly connected to either the Schoen family or Mercer County, Ohio.

A charming, but ultimately low-stakes, memoir of childhood and basketball.

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5191-9863-1

Page Count: 222

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?



An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Did you like this book?