Feb 22, 2022

Book Review: Call Me John

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Call Me John

By Michael Schoenholtz. Self-published. 2021. 149 pages.

Isadore Katz, 14 years young, walked through and out the door of his family’s home and never returned. If he glanced around with residual doubt about his deliberate leave-taking, he saw nothing that would draw him back. The mystery of his forever absence and the shadow of his loss hung over the family for nearly a century.

Decades later, when Michael Schoenholtz’s father saw his son beginning research on the family, he asked if he could possibly resolve the mystery of his vanished uncle Isadore.

Early on, the author enjoyed the company of a whole new clan of cousins recruited via their shared DNA matches. Emails full of family information brought excitement and enlightenment to Mr. Schoenholtz, but the conclusions he came to, and shared with this other side of the DNA family, were not so joyfully received by the new cousins. Gradually, his online family relationships fizzled, but Mr. Schoenholtz had his answers, and he was satisfied they were certain ones.

This must be the most gratifying of family discoveries to find when a researcher begins the search into the unknown. Hoping for the best, apprehensive about the worst, the family genealogist plows ahead and can only present the story that emerges from the proofs.

Here, Mr. Schoenholtz researched apart the curtains that concealed the extinct life of his father’s uncle. Isadore may have disremembered his origin family, but his origin family always remembered him.

Call Me John, with answers now to aged questions, narrates the second life of the mourned Isadore. It’s a memoir devoted to an uncle and ancestor whose enigmatic decision to leave, and puzzling determination to be eternally anonymous to his founding family, can never be positively identified, but at least now his explorations, encounters, waypoints, jobs, and destinations can be told.

The Whys can never be answered, but at least now, the Wheres are known.

Call Me John by Michael Schoenholtz may be purchased from Amazon at as well as from the author at

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