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Lueza T. Gelb took years to write her memoir, "Schroon Lake" and the effort was worth it. . .In trying to understand her mother and father Gelb asks "why." Why did my parents do what they did and why do humans make mistakes?. . .Gelb's writing is clear and vivid with each scene highly detailed especially her childhood memories from the years she idolized her father. . .Perhaps I found this book especially intriguing because it reveals bits of life behind the gates, down one of the long private drives of the summer people in the Adirondacks. . .Is it ever possible as an adult to look back on childhood and understand who our parents were? Maybe not, but Gelb does an admirable job trying.

Betsy Kepes, book reviewer
North Country Public Radio (NCPR)
Canton, NY
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Like all good memoirs of childhood, it reminds us of how we become adults. . .this is a fine book--candid, ruthless, mature. It's filled with compassion for complex and damaged people in a special place. . .Schroon Lake by Lueza Thirkield Gelb is a memoir worth reading.

Jerry McGovern, book reviewer
Press-Republican,
Plattsburgh, NY
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In an age in which dissembling sometimes seems central to the culture, this compelling memoir is notable for its candor. Lueza Thirkield Gelb describes her mysterious father, adored by his daughter yet disliked by his son, and her hard-working mother who was keenly aware of how much her love for her husband had cost her. Each member of the extended family had courage. All faced different sets of problems and all, for the most part, kept their secrets to themselves. Lueza Gelb describes her relationship with each family member. Her story of her role as an observant child, constantly calculating how to grow up in this troubled household, is wisely and beautifully told.

Ann B. Metcalfe,
Author, Trout Lake


An exquisitely written memoir. . .a tranquil masterpiece of recollection and personal reflection.

Roger Kimball,
Editor, The New Criterion


Thirty pages into Schroon Lake, I was already telling friends, "sensitive, poignant and very well written." Lueza's focus on the self-inflicted wounds of her loyal, but too often resentful, father and mother succeeds because she so deftly brings the reader inside her own skin. Only those of you whose families have been flawless will fail to gain insights into your own parents, your own brothers and sisters and, indeed, yourselves. Do read it!

Thomas O. Stanley


Living my early years in Poland, I was drawn to American literature, like many of my generation, in search of the mystery of a far-away land of adventure. That search often took me on unexpected spiritual tours. Reading Schroon Lake reopened that world to me with high intensity. I learned more about the American Spirit by reading this book than through my personal experience of 17 years in America.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this story to the American Studies scholars in my native Poland and elsewhere, and to anyone who enjoys reading a fascinating book. Lueza Thirkield Gelb used her magic "pen" to create a vivid and moving memoir.

Jacek W. Jarkowski,
San Mateo, CA


What a delightful book. I was so engrossed with the story I had a hard time putting "Schroon Lake" down. This book is not for everyone. If you want a strong "plot" or great "moral lessons" then look somewhere else. If you want a highly detailed stream of consciousness recollection of a young girl's life then buy this book. A true story, there is a lot of detail about the good times and the bad that seemed very familiar like I could have been one of the people in the book. This is perhaps the book's greatest value, the "I have been there" quality that stimulated me to remember and examine my life in a similar manner.

Noah Nason,
Manassas, VA


Lueza Gelb wonderfully and skillfully draws the reader into the story of her search for the truth about her family history. I could not put this book down. And even after I had finished the book, I went back over the pages of photographs to reexamine the faces of this family, hoping to find still more clues about their secrets--that is how much Ms. Gelb made me care about the extended Thirkield family. It is not that Ms. Gelb's family and their secrets are so amazing or unusual, it is rather Ms. Gelb's amazing and unusual gift for story telling that makes this common family story so uncommonly interesting. Well done!

B. Paris, CT


In flowing prose, this eloquent memoir takes us on a journey through a youth of seemingly idyllic family closeness, laced with tension and pain. Lueza's story jumps back and forth in time from the day, after her mother's death, when she meets her brother on the shores of Schroon Lake to shutter the beloved house they grew up in. From her earliest years she was surrounded by siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Unflinchingly she probes nearly forgotten details, reminding us, often humorously, how the unexpected new neighbor, friend, or lover will help lead us inevitably beyond the family that shaped us; she inspires us, in turn, to appreciate and to question how we each arrive at what we are becoming. A real treat.

Kim Oler,
Musician/Composer, Huntington, NY


Lueza Gelb's memoir sings with the tender ache and complex intimacies woven among the souls of a singular American family. With the delicacy of an archeologist unearthing and dusting off fragments of memory, she writes to honor and to comprehend the hidden stories and fierce love that bind us in blood and in marriage. With unflinching honesty and care, Gelb offers us a beautiful example of how telling our story in lucid prose may guide us toward an understanding of who we are. This book is a hard won and great achievement.
A pleasure to read.

Martin, Moran, Jr.
Author, The Tricky Part


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SCHROON LAKE
by Lueza Thirkield Gelb
Author Journal Gallery item8 item4