The Midwest Book Review (dot com), bless them, has given their own version of a thumbs-up to my book The Cleveland Rutters. An organization of volunteers, established in 1976, MBR is among the very few established review sources to include self-published authors alongside books published by small presses and academic presses. The organization is “committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing.” (Visit their website to get a feel for how MBR operates.)
When I was a small press owner-publisher (for VanderWyk & Burnham), MBR was a trustworthy source of objective reviews. Well-known sources such as major newspapers (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times), Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Library Review, and so on are generally preoccupied with output from larger publishers and less likely to give any kind of priority attention to (excellent!) books coming out of small or academic presses. They do some, but few, fewer, and fewst. (I know, not a word, but I couldn’t resist.)
I have not meant for The Cleveland Rutters to have wide distribution—not that I would argue with that if it happened—so I didn’t send a copy to the heavy hitting review sources, knowing it wouldn’t appeal to them in any case. But I did think MBR would see its value, and they did. They don’t accept financial contributions from authors or publishers lest they invoke cries of conflict of interest, but they welcome donations of postage stamps “for the cause.” My thank-you note to them will certainly make that donation.
Here’s what MBR’s reviewer John Burroughs wrote:
- The stories of our families are similar, but different enough to peak our curiosity. “The Cleveland Rutters: One Daughter’s Retrospection” is a tribute, memoir, and biography blended into one as daughter Meredith Ann Rutter remembers her family and the changes they faced as the New England family faced life together, offering a realistic picture of family life in the 1950s and 1960s. “The Cleveland Rutters” is worth considering for familial memoirs, highly recommended.