Barberton native’s 1950s tale is suspenseful and believable
A Long Good Walk, a novel by Barberton native Ron Meszaros, is an odyssey through industrial Barberton of the early 1950s, populated by immigrant laborers busy making matches and glass and steam boilers. The historical context is convincing, and so is the episodic story.
Meszaros brings the reader along with 9-year-old Charlie, a Barberton third-grader who wakes up one school day in 1953 to hear his mother, Garnet, talking on the phone. Her cruel stepfather Frank has been beating Charlie’s grandmother again.
Garnet then calls her sister and swears to kill Frank. Though his mother later assures Charlie it was just talk, he’s worried enough to take on the job himself to protect her. Taking his father’s gun and leaving school early, Charlie makes his way by foot and bus across town.
Charlie meets a great many people on his journey — a beautiful waitress who gives him advice for avoiding the truant officer, the predatory boyfriend of a victimized teenager, a Holocaust survivor, a disturbed homeless veteran. He gets into real danger, which he eludes with a combination of luck and strategy learned from Tom Mix movies he’s seen on TV. By the time Charlie arrives at Frank’s house, the suspense is acute.
A Long Good Walk (245 pages, softcover) costs $11.99 from online retailers. Ron Meszaros attended Oakdale School in Barberton from 1949 to 1954, is an alumnus of Ohio University and now lives in Fairhope, Ala.
‘Trolling Big-Water Walleyes’
“Ice-out” is the term for the time in early spring when the lakes start to thaw, and wildlife writer W.H. “Chip” Gross says that’s a good time to catch walleye. In Trolling Big-Water Walleyes: Secrets of the Great Lakes Fishing Guides, Charter Captains, and Walleye Pros, Gross explains that walleye are arriving to spawn, and they’ll be hungry.
His book covers equipment from basic to elaborate, when and where to get the best catch and interviews with veteran anglers. Trolling Big-Water Walleyes (120 pages, spiral bound) costs $24.95 from Kent State University Press Black Squirrel Books. Chip Gross, who lives in Fredericktown, previously collaborated with R.T. Stewart on Poachers Were My Prey: Eighteen Years as an Undercover Wildlife Officer.
‘The Adventures of Lil’ Stevie’
As a speaker to schools and youth groups through his PowerMoves program, Akron native Steve Fitzhugh helps children and teens make good decisions. He uses examples from his NFL career and growing up in Akron, and now he’s written a children’s book, the first in an announced series called The Adventures of Lil’ Stevie.
Book 1: Canines, Campouts, and Cousins tells stories of Fitzhugh’s childhood on Akron’s west side, where he attended Schumacher Elementary School. He throws apples from a backyard tree at squirrels, but is chagrined when he actually hits one, leading to a lesson on bullying. Other stories lead to lessons on making the best of what you have, and the importance of reading and of accepting the consequences of your actions.
The Adventures of Lil’ Stevie (102 pages, softcover) is recommended for ages 7-14 and costs $9.99 from online retailers. Steve Fitzhugh, an alumnus of Walsh Jesuit High School, was a free safety for the Denver Broncos for two years. He is the national spokesman for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes “One Way 2 Play — Drug Free” program.
Dover High School (520 N. Walnut St.) — Marie Monville, widow of Charles Roberts, who killed five Amish girls in a Nickel Mines, Pa., schoolhouse in 2006, reads from and signs One Light Still Shines: My Life Beyond the Shadow of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting, 7 p.m. Tuesday. Registration requested; call 330-343-6123.
Cleveland Public Library (325 E. Superior Ave.) — Boxing historian Jerry Fitch gives a presentation and signs his books Cleveland’s Greatest Boxers of All Time; Jimmy Bivins: The Man Who Would Be Champion; and Fifty Years of Fights, Fighters and Friendships, 12 p.m. Thursday.
Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights) — Michael Clune, author of White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin, his memoir of addiction as a graduate student, and D. Foy, author of the novel Made to Break, will read from and sign their work from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.) — Mindy McGinnis discusses and signs her futuristic debut teen novel Not a Drop to Drink, 1 p.m. Saturday. Registration requested; call 330-343-6123.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Brecksville branch, 9089 Brecksville Road) — A local author fair will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Barnes & Noble (4015 Medina Road, Bath Township) — Authors Dan Toussant and Katherine Burik give presentations from their books The Job Seeker Manifesto: The Job Search Marketing Plan and Resumes 3.0 at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Maple Valley branch, 1187 Copley Road) — Children’s author Bobby Jackson talks about his work and publishing, 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.