Retired educator Bernie Schein is the author of If Holden Caulfield Were in My Classroom: Inspiring Love, Creativity, and Intelligence in Middle School Kids and, with his wife, Martha Schein, coauthor of Open Classrooms in the Middle School. He holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University with an emphasis in educational psychology. A forty-year veteran of middle school instruction and administration, Schein has served as the principal of schools in Mississippi and South Carolina and helped found the independent Paideia School in Atlanta, where he was honored as Atlanta’s District Teacher of the Year in 1978. His stories and essays have appeared in Atlanta Magazine, Atlanta Weekly, the Beaufort Gazette, Creative Loafing, Lowcountry Weekly, and the Mississippi Educational Advance, and he has been interviewed on National Public Radio.
Book Title: Famous All Over Town
Schein’s diverse and memorable cast includes southern Jewish lawyer Murray Gold and his foil, displaced New York psychiatrist Bert Levy; emotionally scarred USMC drill sergeant Jack McGowan and his alluring and unconventional wife, Mary Beth; corrupt and adulterous sheriff Hoke Cooley, his deeply conservative wife, Regina, and their violent son, Boonie; African American madam and later city councilwoman Lila Trulove (also Hoke’s mistress), her brilliant daughter, Elizabeth, and her conflicted Harvard-bound son, Driver; fallen southern belle turned voice of a generation Arlanne Palmer; remorseful Vietnam veteran and flamboyant transvestite Royal Cunningham; and inspirational schoolteacher Pat Conroy. Famous all over Town also uses its web of interconnected storylines to make its setting, the eponymous town itself, a central character with a personality and an arc as complete as that of any other member of the deftly rendered cast.