“Trials In Youngstown, Ohio” is the story of Matt Burns, a young man who has a difficult time living up to lofty expectations that have been set for him by family and friends. Matt’s junior and senior years at Howland High School are filled with the frustration of performing poorly both in sports and academics. Matt takes a crack at just about everything. He tries out for the swim team, the baseball team, and the tennis squad. He fails to make any of them. Realizing his father’s love of football, Matt occasionally dreams of heroic exploits on the gridiron, but is intimidated because of his past failures. Matt is also having trouble scholastically. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot seem to pull anything better than C’s and D’s. Matt’s failures are compounded by the fact that his brother and sister, both students at Ohio State University, and both borderline ego-maniacs, are extremely successful at sports and academics. For Matt’s mother, Carol, daughter Sherri and son Randy are the apples of her eye, while at best youngest son Matt is the enigmatic ugly-duckling of the family. Matt does have one thing going for him - he is a gifted artist. Although not an athlete, he has an uncanny knack for rendering the exploits of the playing field almost as well as the world-renowned sports artist, Leroy Nieman. A few of his close friends encourage his efforts, as does his father, Roger, who is a likeable fellow whose only real concern is trying to keep his family together. Matt appears to have a new lease on life as he begins his freshman year of college at Youngstown State, but the smooth sailing only ends up being the calm before the storm. Out of the blue, Matt is hit with a paternity suit from a conniving old girlfriend. To compound this problem, Matt’s father has quit his secure job with General Motors and has started his own architecture firm. Although business looked good at the outset, Roger Burns & Associates is floundering financially. Within months, Matt’s entire world is turned upside down. He is suddenly faced with major legal costs. He is kicked out of the house by his mother. He faces the very real possibility of having to quit college because of his father’s financial difficulties. He loses his job as a designer for the college sports magazine. The toughest pill to swallow is the loss of close friends when the going gets tough. Through all of this turmoil, Matt and his father eventually grow much closer. Roger Burns is unexpectedly receiving a taste of what Matt has been going through for years, that being a kick-in-the-ribs instead of a helping hand. In a story that is a wonderful combination of “Rocky,” “Rudy,” and “All The Right Moves,” Matt bounces back and fights his way through numerous life challenges, proving to adversaries and fickle friends that he is a ‘WINNER’.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
'TRIALS IN YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO' is a wonderful book written by Wolfgang Cooper. Although a short story, 'TRAILS' is chock full of more fervor, passion and intensity than a lot of books that run 500 plus pages. For anyone who grew up in the seventies, and remembers big cars, big industry, down and dirty local rock and roll bands and all the effort it took to win over family and friends when you were 18 years old, this is definitely a book that will get your blood pumping. Teenagers of today will also enjoy the story. Cooper has an interesting writing style that is easy to follow. I blew through it one weekend.Enjoy!
This book, 'Trials In Youngstown, Ohio,' really got to me. I grew up in a small town and played high school football. I remember firends and family telling me I was to small and to slow to make the team. But I persevered and eventually earned my high school letter. I now work in an automotive plant. What I like about this book is that it proves that a person doesn't have to be big-shot politician or movie mogul to be a winner in life. The main character in the story, Matt Burns, is constantly put-down by family and friends for not being a high flier in scholastics or sports, but he never gives up. This book reminded me of the movie 'Rudy,' about the steel town kid who made the Notre Dame football team against all odds. I've read some of Wolfgang Coopers other books. He has a brief, spare way of writing that makes reading a pleasure and not a chore. I highly recommend this book, both for parents and for their children