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Thin Ice
Coming of Age in Grand Rapids
POD; Published: 4/26/2007
ISBN: 978-0-8028-2478-3
Price: $ 39.50
416 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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This unique volume contains twenty-eight fascinating life stories of people -- many of whom went on to become famous -- who grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The coming-of-age stories in Thin Ice relate a range of experiences both good and bad, including happy memories and heartwarming recollections but also personal traumas, intergenerational and racial conflicts, the strictures of religious belief and practice, the joys and sorrows of young romance, and more. Above and beyond the stories of the more notable personalities -- Jim Harrison, Roger Wilkins, John Hockenberry, President Gerald Ford, Betty Ford, Al Green, Paul Schrader, William Brashler -- the book as a whole is chock-full of crisp, humorous, irreverent, and moving writing.

Reinder Van Til and Gordon Olson have excerpted half of the pieces from previous publications, while they directly solicited the other half from active writers specifically for this book. The earliest stories go back to the 1830s and 1850s, and the most recent are a cluster of contemporary pieces that describe coming of age in the Grand Rapids of the 1960s through the 1980s. Together they paint a multifaceted, impressionistic portrait of a century and a half in the fair city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

All in all, Thin Ice is a nostalgic treasure for any Grand Rapidian and literary treasure for e v e r y one.


Albert Baxter
Charles E. Belknap
A. J. Muste
Arnold Gingrich
David Cornel DeJong
Gerald R. Ford
Betty Ford
Edward V. Gillis
John Thompson
Roger Wilkins
Jim Harrison
Glen Peterson
Max Apple
John Otterbacher
Reinder Van Til
Al Green
Paul Schrader
Robert VanderMolen
William Brashler
Sheri Venema
Hank Meijer
Charles Honey
Tom Rademacher
Levi Rickert
John Hockenberry
Laura Kasischke
Kaye Longberg
Bich Minh Nguyen