“Royko in Love: Mike’s Letters to Carol, reveals a new dimension of the columnist, and introduces Carol to the world. [It] reads like a great epistolary novel... This isn’t a harrowing tale of life on the battle front. Nor are the letters hot and steamy. They were written by a slightly insecure young man from the Northwest Side at a rural Air Force base in Washington state. Royko’s depiction of life more resembles 'Hogan’s Heroes' or 'F Troop' than 'All Quiet on the Western Front' or even 'M*A*S*H.'"
"Mike Royko's softer side... Love letters from the famed Chicago columnist to his future wife reveals a man obsessed. Royko reached for his pen and went after Carol with a fever, displaying the same level of pursuit he would later employ in chasing bureaucrats and political hacks... The Royko cadence was already locked in -- simple, unadorned sentences that don't show the sweat behind them and are marked by a near-poetic lack of pretense. Even then, barely old enough to vote, he made it look effortless."
"The letters pour out of him... Mike Royko's letters burn with the passion and obsession of the moment. It is a state older men remember as happiness because they would be so happy to feel anything that intensely again."
(Mike Miner, Chicago Reader, 8/18/10)
Royko’s son reads dad’s love letters at Old State Capitol
(Kathryn Rem, State Journal-Register, 2/8/11)
Before Royko's Words Got Him a Pulitzer, They Got Him a Wife.
Son of legendary columnist discusses father's love letters
(Steve Sadin, Highland Park Patch, 2/14/11)
"He became a celebrated syndicated columnist and a Pulitzer Prize winner, but the love letters written in 1954 to woo Carol, his childhood sweetheart, were likely the most important assignment of his life. He sure wrote like it was... We become privy to the whole human turmoil that Mike goes through as he spills out his heart in letter after letter to Carol, almost every day, sometimes a couple of letters a day... Through his descriptions we visualize his lanky frame on his military bunk at 3 a.m., hunched over a sheaf of lined paper, writing his tender missives under a harsh light. Woven through the letters are snippets of postwar military life; astute observations of base politics (“We have two officers on our golf team playing because of their rank instead of their skill”); of the social culture of the 1950s; of a military man’s life as he waits out his duty so he can get back to the real world and begin life on his own terms with the girl of his dreams."
(Jane Christmas, Macleans, 9/16/10)
"Royko won his love’s heart with 114 handwritten letters... In 1954, Royko was trying to win the love of Carol... She was a tall, blond beauty who turned down a marriage proposal almost every week. From his barracks room, the only way Royko could compete for her love was by 'groping for words with a pen.' And compete he did, writing Carol a letter every day, often two or three a day."
(Darrell Norman, Gadsden Times, 10/8/10)
Royko In Love
is one of
CBS Chicago's Best Of:
New Chicago Books
"The subject of his most famous column, 'November Farewell,' was the untimely passing of his first wife, Carol. The piece is included in this collection... The long-distance love letters...are all the more compelling as the written word was his only means of winning her over."
(Greg Wahl, CBS Chicago, 3/9/11)
"Alternately happy and sappy, angry and jealous, funny and serious... They were penned, pre- and post-nuptials, over the course of around 10 months and are rife with the cutting wit and wry cynicism for which Royko would one day become renowned."
(Mike Thomas, Chicago Sun-Times, 9/19/10)
"Endearing and often funny...a glimpse into the mind and personality of young Mike."
(Sharon M. Britton, Library Journal, 9/1/10)
"Royko in Love compiles the achingly tender, rarely seen correspondences of a man who once claimed Cyrano de Bergerac as his hero. “Hearing your voice nearly caused the telephone to melt in my hand,” writes Royko in one letter. “I’ve read your letter until the ink has practically worn off,” he says in another. It’s not hard to see why one day, one of Royko’s most cherished pieces of writing would be 'November Farewell,' a tribute to his better half."