Akron Beacon Journal
Lynne Sherwin, Features Editor, and Barbara McIntyre
Please check out the great review the Akron Beacon Journal gave my new book A POEM ON A BAR ROOM WALL in. Thanks to Lynne Sherwin, Features Editor, and Barbara McIntyre. Check it out at Ohio.com in the Lyfestyle section. Below is the text of the review:
‘Poem on Bar Room Wall’
is ode to love in Cleveland
Dancing to polka music, eating pierogi dinners made by the ladies at the church down the street and working at his family’s meat and sausage stand at the West Side Market are some things that have shaped the life of Jeff Smolinski, protagonist of Greg Cielec’s episodic novel A Poem on a Bar Room Wall.
Jeff’s story begins in college, where he develops an infatuation with a girl named Amy. She has a boyfriend, so Jeff settles for the next best thing, Amy’s roommate Katie. During summer vacation, he works as a camp counselor and gets close to a co-worker named Amanda, who also has a boyfriend.
Jeff doesn’t really settle down, and after he becomes a teacher and coach, his students pass through his life. The constants are his neighborhood bar, the Willow Tavern, and his Uncle Mike, a World War II hero. Cielec’s description of Cleveland neighborhood life is lovingly rendered.
The highlights of the story are the students in whose lives Jeff makes a real difference: a misfit boy having the worst day of his terrible life; a naïve girl taken advantage of by her older boyfriend; a basketball phenom from a rough area. He also learns much more about the actions of his uncle during the war.
A Poem on a Bar Room Wall (182 pages, softcover) costs $18 from the author’s website, gregcielec.com. Greg Cielec is an alumnus of Ohio Wesleyan and Cleveland State universities, and works as an adjunct professor at Bowling Green State University and Lakeland Community College.
Thanks to everyone who fought the rainstorms and stopped into our book signing in Delaware, Ohio, on May 16. Sorry about the weather, but once again, since I first stepped into that town all those years ago, a good time was had by all.