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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
If you enjoy a good memoir that sheds light on everyday life in America in decades past, Don't Tell Mom! Shenanigans of a Small-Town Kid by Greg Schweiner is for you. Growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin as a younger child in a large Catholic family, Schweiner recounts his memories of family, church, school, friends, and the socio-economic environment of the 1960s and 70s. He paints a picture of an American way of life that is very different from the one young people know today. At the same time, his forays into youthful shenanigans and his efforts to be part of the Cool Kids aren’t so different from what youngsters of today experience as they grow up and begin to define their moral compasses.
As a fellow “baby boomer,” I recognize Schweiner’s adolescent world. His narrative is engagingly and skillfully written, painting a picture and conveying not only the details and facts about his experiences but also his emotions and how they matured over time. The boy that he describes is relatable. He might be your brother or mine, sneaking away to experiment with cigarettes and alcohol or walking a dangerous path along a railroad line. While there are moments in his childhood adventures that will make you smile, there are also moments when you wonder how he’ll turn out in the end. In Don't Tell Mom! Shenanigans of a Small-Town Kid, Greg Schweiner shares both his memories and his heart, and that’s what gives a memoir true meaning.