Avon native and Illinois State Historical Society Honored Author

Joe Paradis, Avon native and author, self-published his book “Looking For Cornbread” in July 2021 on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.

In Search of Cornbread: Coming of Age in Small-Town America Circa 1950s-1960s

“Once I accumulated enough words to consider publishing, then what? I had no idea. I bought a book on what to do and it basically said, ‘Don’t do it. not alone, get help!’ The first piece of advice I took was to share the manuscript with trusted friends. Those who read it said to me: 1) the story was very moving but I needed an editor, and the caution was that finding a good editor was going to be a problem. It was. For a long time, I was like a blind dog in a meat locker, yapping for help in all directions, until I find an editor who helped me organize my information. Once I published, the real work began: the marketing,” says Paradis.

What is cornbread research about?

Paradis: “Dr. Linda Tucker, associate professor of English at Southern Arkansas University, said in the second sentence of her foreword to my book, ‘The book itself is a study of classroom dynamics, gender and race in this environment. – Mid 20th century.’ In the last two sentences of the foreword, she sums it up, “…if you’re looking for a memoir that captures the culture of Mayberry, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a sophisticated narrative that delights and dismays readers throughout in a remarkably unpredictable way, then prepare to be engaged by this impressive work from start to finish.

Paradis: “So what is the book about? As the subtitle suggests, it’s a coming-of-age story. As the third son of an alcoholic and unstable father, a young boy sees and experiences violence throughout his developmental years as well as neglect and loneliness, yet he persisted, repeatedly failed in life, and eventually found happiness (cornbread). also to a slice of American culture – small town life in the 1950s-60s.The town I grew up in is vividly described in detail as it existed during those two decades. The book then shows how the following decades have exerted forces on this nuclear community and how these forces have eroded this united life. Then there is the humor that balances some of the tangled and dark parts. As the epilogue indicates, the boy has found happiness and this dev would give hope to those who experienced childhood abuse or trauma.”

Following:‘Still Points’: A Galesburg native’s debut novel based on WWII diaries

Recently, Paradis received a letter from Dan Monroe, president and awards chair of the Illinois State Historical Society, announcing that Paradis, along with his publication, will soon be honored at the Society’s annual awards program on April 9 at the Hoogland. Center of the Arts in Springfield.

How did Paradis feel when he received the letter from the president of ISHS?

“I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. It all came from someone I hadn’t heard of in over 50 years who read my book and urged me to send it to the ‘Illinois State Historical Society in Springfield. I thought, ‘Sure.’ Still, I sent it in. I soon got a call from their administrator asking for more copies so that someone from the professional staff could read it and possibly review it in Illinois Heritage magazine. and a few months later I received a letter announcing the award.”

Following:“Galesburg, Illinois: Growing Up in an All-American Town”: Baby Boomer Childhood Stories

Currently, Paradis is focused on marketing this book, but he has also begun writing two others, “Bumpkins In Big Town”, which chronicles his experience as a country boy coming to Washington D.C. and working in the federal government. for three decades.

“A second book called ‘The Goldie Locks Zone’ was started at the request of one of my editors as she was taken by the relationship between me and my wife. But again the marketing was so consumer I haven’t written a word about either since July 2021 – blind dogs have a hard time sinking their teeth into anything good, especially those that are gray muzzled and long-toothed,” Paradis said.

Following:Galesburg native, baseball star, turned college chancellor, shares leadership advice

Paradis lives in Cary, North Carolina, but was born at St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg in 1947. For the first five years of his life, he lived briefly in the surrounding towns of Wataga, Oneida, and Cameron before moving to settled in Avon 1952, where he grew up and left for good in 1970. He married a resident of Table Grove on September 5, 1971, then graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, in 1975. holds a master’s degree in business and legal studies. Paradis and his wife moved to the Washington DC area in 1976 where they both developed careers over the next 40 years and moved to Cary, North Carolina in March 2016. In his spare time, the writer enjoys photoshop, photography, music, Korean movies, landscaping, gardening, tennis, yoga and other sports activities.

To purchase his book, “Looking For Cornbread,” go to amazon.com.

To do a story with the Prairie Review, email Hannah Donsbach at [email protected] or private message the Prairie Review Facebook page – formerly Argus-Sentinel.

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