John Powers

The Last Catholic in America

Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?

John R. Powers wrote three books about growing up in Mt. Greenwood, Chicago, which he calls Seven Holy Tombs in the book. This was my neighborhood in Chicago If you have never read them, go to the library and get them or buy them. They are hilarious. 

The Last Catholic in America is about grade school kids and is the best.  Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? and The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice-Cream God are about older kids and are also well worth reading.

Powers was born in 1945 and went to St. Christina. He writes about many of the neighborhood characters that we knew. 

Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? was made into a play. We saw it in Chicago. There were several nuns in attendance, which inhibited our reactions until we saw them laughing. Then we all laughed together.
John R. Powers (November 30, 1945 – January 17, 2013) was an American novelist and playwright. Powers wrote four books of fiction, The Last Catholic in America (Dutton 1973), Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? (Regnery 1975), The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God (Contemporary 1977), and The Junk Drawer, Corner Store, Front Porch Blues (Dutton 1992). He also wrote the self-help book Odditude (HCI 2007). These books relate his experience of growing up in 1950's Chicago. John grew up in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood on the city's far southwest side. The first three books, often referred to as the "Eddie Ryan Trilogy," have been re-issued by Loyola Press.
Dr. Powers was awarded two Emmy Awards for his writing. The first in 1984 for Lovers and Lanes which he wrote for WMAQ TV channel 5 in Chicago and the second in 1988 for Going Homewritten for WLS TV channel 7 in Chicago.
Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? was selected for inclusion on the American Library Association’s list of Best Books for Young Adults in 1975. Powers wrote the libretto to a Broadway musical based loosely on characters and events from his first two novels entitled Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? that continues to run in venues nationwide. John was also the author of two one man shows which he also performed. The first Scissors, Paper, Rock that was based on his Emmy Award winning special Going Home and the second, which ran successfully in Chicago, Life's Not Fair, So What.

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