Praise for ‘The Shoebox’

Growing Up with America in the Babyboom South


In this family saga spanning four generations, a Southern woman tells a family story that is in many ways America’s story from the 1940s to the present. Served up in bits and pieces, the puzzle parts gradually come together to form a convincing picture of who we are and how we got here. The picture which emerges is of a colorful cast of characters, heroic at times, not so admirable at others, but always lovable.

A memoir by Stephanie Debry

Sometimes eras and generations fit nicely into decades, and for what is often called the postwar “babyboom” era those decades are the 1950s and 60s. Those two decades, during which most babyboomers grew up and approached adulthood, are often described as polar opposites, but in fact they had much in common. Both grew out of the optimism which followed World War II.

Of course new technologies like television had profound effects on the culture, but more than anything America was awash in confidence. The expansion of industry necessary to fight the Great War had left America with huge muscles and feeling it had hung the moon. Victories over enemies around the globe had the country-and especially the men returning from the war-expecting something in return. They believed America could provide a more comfortable lifestyle and a wider distribution of wealth and opportunity. And it did.

This simple belief in the goodness of America which permeated the 1950s carried over into the early 60s. Even the late 60s, marked as they were by the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement, expressed optimism that ordinary people standing up for the truth could profoundly change political order.

from Joan Harwig, author and professor of English Literature (retired),
University of Kentucky and Florida State University

“Stephanie DeBry’s well-written memoir captures the subtle nuances of peoples’ emotions from infancy to old age in this distillation of a somewhat “dysfunctional” but “typical” Southern family during the decades between World War II and the present. She depicts attitudes that form prejudice at its heart, and yet her people, shaped by them, act reasonably. Despite the shifting back and forth in time, her story creates a picture of a family which coheres throughout the decades of change, even though there are differences of perspectives in each generation.

“One comes away with a feeling of hope, and with the awareness that moments of recognition might not be all that bad. We all have a past and are formed b it. I applaud Stephanie DeBry for her articulation of family details we all might prefer to keep hidden. I think that the reading of this memoir will call up memories–whether cherished or not–for all of us, and make us recognize who we are and why.”

–Joan Hartwig PhD
Alligator Pool
Shakespeare’s Tragicomic Vision
Shakespeare’s Analogical Scene: Parody as Structural Syntax

The Shoebox is an insightful and entertaining family saga spanning four generations. A Southern woman tells a family story which in many ways is America’s story from the 1940s to the present. Ms. DeBry’s characters are colorful and authentic. They enter from every corner of life’s stage and never fail to surprise. If you or your family was part of the babyboom era, the Shoebox is a must read.

Read these sample chapters from ‘The Shoebox’

Photograph Packet #3, Serena’s Debut
Photograph Packet #4: Stairsteps
Photograph Packet #6: Ding-ding-ding Went the Trolley
Photograph Packet #8: Delta Airlines
Photograph Packet #11: The Wake of War
Photograph Packet # 39: The Grand Finale: Bursts of Light


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Praise for The Shoebox

Stephanie DeBry’s well-written memoir captures the subtle nuances of people’s emotions from infancy to old age in this distillation of a somewhat “dysfunctional” but “typical” Southern family…
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Read an excerpt now!

Read an excerpt now!

May 30, 1947 | Atlanta, Georgia

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