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|Format: DRM Free ePub|
Vendor: David C. Cook
Publication Date: 2008
Availability: In Stock
The spring of 53 started out like any other for sports columnist Jack Hall, as he and the rest of his small southern town, Whitney, eagerly awaited the magical first pitch that would open the Bobcats season. But when ticket sales wane with the new distractions of air conditioning and I Love Lucy, the Bobcats face an early end not only to the season but to their careers as well. The team needs a white knight to save them and ironically, that white knight seems to be a 17 year old "colored kid", Percy Jackson, whos got a .364 batting average and has never seen a grounder he couldnt chase down.
Not everyonenot even most peoplethough can wrap their heads around an integrated baseball field, even if they have seen them on TV. This is Whitney. Things dont change and they dont need to change. Do they?
Hearts, minds, faith and tradition will be tested as will friendships and marriages when this sleepy southern town comes to grips with itself amid the early years of the Civil Rights Movement.
The book tells the fictional story of a reporter named Jack Hall, who loves baseball more than life. He lives and breathes the game. Thus, the threat of seeing his towns baseball team fall apart due to financial difficulty leaves him with the idea that the only way to bring life back to the team is to give them a new player, one who will even the odds. His solution is a young black man named Percy Jackson, a particularly skillful player whose abilities are going to waste due to the color of his skin.
The story contains some very touching and thought-provoking ideas, all of which are certainly quite worthy of consideration. For instance, the main theme of the book, acceptance, is discussed many different times, and the conclusion always seems to be that we must always accept people despite their differences. However, one of my main problems with the book is that I do not think the ideas are presented very well. Though the story is certainly worth telling, the plot was slow at times and tended to get bogged down in unimportant details, which, while adding to the culture and feel of the book, did nothing to advance the actual narrative.
Aside from its habit of getting bogged down in seemingly meaningless conversations and sub-plots, I thought the meat of the story was quite good. The characters were very believable, especially Jacks wife, Rose Marie. I found her to be one of the most moving characters in the story. Though she personally has no problem with people of color, she fears the sacrifice she knows change will require. She doesnt want to see anybody hurt, and she fears that if her husband continues along the path he has chosen, harm will come to her family. Her first priority is to protect her family, and she cannot see herself doing that with the changes her husband is attempting to initiate.
All in all, this book was certainly worth reading, especially for baseball fans and those who enjoy looking at the lives of interesting characters. I greatly admire the depth of the people involved in the story, and I will be interested to see if their positive attributes can be carried over into the sequel. Jordan A. Rockey, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
BarbVirginiaAge: Over 65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Small town integration heartache and confusionApril 21, 2012BarbVirginiaAge: Over 65Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4
Although baseball is the catalyst and supplies the entire story line for this interesting tale, the centerpiece of the tale is the confusion and heartache that wreaked havoc among many small towns in the south during the 1950's when the Supreme Court began the integration process that threatened to tear our country apart. Note: One must be a real baseball fan to understand all the "lingo" of the games. However, the story line is strong enough running throughout so that the non-expert can still enjoy the passion of the story.
This is a novel of "mundane evens and ordinary people," as the author states, who are drawn, totally against their will, into a battle for which they did not ask and which they do not wish to fight. The signing of a young negro boy to the town's baseball league is really only a monetary attempt to keep the town's team afloat and to draw in more spectators. What develops from that economic decision are events that quickly swirl totally out of control and threaten the town's idyllic setting.
The Christian perspective is based on Romans 8:28 and runs fairly well through the main character's personality; but some might find the language and the ever present alcohol usage a bit objectionable. The characters, protagonists and antagonisst, are believable; amazingly, their goals are similar--they just want to achieve them in very different ways. I am sure this is a true depiction of the times; and, although set in a fictional town, much of the background is drawn from actual events which makes the flavor of the story more believable.