Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Brooklyn Nine - A Novel in Nine Innings by Alan Gratz

J Fiction
299 pages

Nine short stories, each main character an ancestor of the next (that makes nine generations), all with a passionate love of baseball, and all share some interesting part of American history with the reader. Sound good? It is. Baseball historians will love this book - Gratz shows us that there's so much more to the game than our modern version of steroids and hugely inflated paychecks. But even if you're not a baseball enthusiast, you'll enjoy the different historical settings of each member of the Schneider-Flint family.

I expected this to be just a baseball book. I'm surprised I started it, actually. While I do like baseball, I don't want to read a book about baseball. I soon learned, after the first few pages, that baseball is part of the backdrop of these stories. Each character has some conflict to deal with and resolve. Mike, 8th inning, has the most BASEBALL centered story. The time in history plays a more significant role in these story plots than baseball itself. I looked forward to starting each new story, or inning, wondering "OK, who's next and what's going on??"

Some impressive research by the author as well as fine writing. Wouldn't it be nice to see a book about the favorite all-American past time be recognized by the American award for Children's Literature? (That's the Newbery I'm referring to.) Hot dog, anyone?

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