Schoemer, Karen 1965-

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Schoemer, Karen 1965-


Born 1965; married; children: one daughter.


Home—NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas,New York, NY 10020.


Writer and music critic. Newsweek, former pop music critic.


Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair with '50s Pop Music, Free Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to anthologies, including Rock She Wrote: Women Write about Rock, Pop, and Rap, Trouble Girls: The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock, Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000, and Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader. Contributor to periodicals, including Newsweek, New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Blender.


Karen Schoemer is a freelance writer and music critic who often writes about music for such publications as Rolling Stone. In her first book,Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair with '50s Pop Music, Schoemer, who was born in the 1960s, explores the genre of 1950s rock music. In the process, she parallels the genre's influence and up-and-down reputation with her parents' difficult marriage, which subsequently ended. Schoemer also describes how, in the process of researching the book and conducting interviews, she came to change her views about 1950s music and performers—from one of virtual disinterest to admiration. In the course of the book, Schoemer examines the music and lyrics and profiles such influential performers as Patti Page,Pat Boone, and Fabian. "Her work is an alternately funny and soul-defining odyssey, a journey to self-understanding through art," wrote Nellie Mckay in theNew York Times Book Review. Mckay added: "Great Pretenders, however, offers a truly unique background to a grossly underappreciated era in American music." Referring to Great Pretenders as "an ambitious first book," a Publishers Weekly contributor called the author "a plucky narrator." Jack Helbig, writing inBooklist, concluded: "This is no conventional music history."



Schoemer, Karen, Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair with '50s Pop Music, Free Press (New York, NY), 2006.


AARP: The Magazine, March 26, 2006, Jennifer Howard, review of Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair with '50s Pop Music.

Booklist, February 1, 2006, Jack Helbig, review ofGreat Pretenders, p. 15.

California Bookwatch, April, 2006, review of Great Pretenders.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2005, review of Great Pretenders, p. 1315.

Library Journal, January 1, 2006, Carol J. Binkowski, review of Great Pretenders, p. 120.

New York Times Book Review, March 26, 2006, Nellie Mckay, review of Great Pretenders, p. 5.

Publishers Weekly, November 21, 2005, review ofGreat Pretenders, p. 35.

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Schoemer, Karen 1965-

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