Dean Duffy

Dean Duffy

by Randy Powell
     
 

Dean Duffy's brilliant baseball career ended before he graduated from high school. Even though his pitching arm has gone bad, his coach and lifelong mentor hasn't given up on him. But does Dean want another chance? An ALA Best Book for Young Adults. 176 pp. Ages 12 and up. Pub: 3/98. See more details below

Overview

Dean Duffy's brilliant baseball career ended before he graduated from high school. Even though his pitching arm has gone bad, his coach and lifelong mentor hasn't given up on him. But does Dean want another chance? An ALA Best Book for Young Adults. 176 pp. Ages 12 and up. Pub: 3/98.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Powell (Is Kissing a Girl Who Smokes Like Licking an Ashtray?) wraps up this nifty coming-of-age tale in a baseball story-yet not a single game is played. Although he's only just graduated from high school, Dean Duffy thinks of himself as a has-been. An agonizing and inexplicable slump has cut short his promising career as a ballplayer; once considered a shoo-in for any number of athletic scholarships, he is at loose ends until a longtime mentor arranges a baseball scholarship to an exclusive private college, to begin the following spring. Dean spends the autumn mulling over the offer: he takes a lot of long drives in his '63 Volvo, embarks on a wryly recounted romance with the strong-minded waitress at his favorite coffeeshop and wonders if he has the nerve to play ball again. Like a string of firecrackers, a series of epiphanies explodes as the deadline for Dean's decision draws near. The ambiguous yet upbeat ending provides a fitting climax. With his effortless-seeming writing, Powell creates a recognizable world and peoples it with characters who are remarkably sympathetic and complex. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Bruce Adelson
Dean Duffy is like many 18-year-olds. Having just graduated from high school, he is wondering what his next steps will be. Deciding to skip college, unlike most of his friends, Dean finds himself adrift between two worlds, the one he left behind in high school and the one seemingly everyone else has embarked upon, leaving him behind. But Dean has more than just career angst on his mind. A former star high school baseball player in Seattle, Duffy spent his senior year mired in such a deep slump that colleges shied away from him. He has a chance at some redemption when Dick Drago, baseball coach at a small, liberal arts college in eastern Washington, offers him a 1/2 year scholarship. He spends his post-high school summer house-sitting in Seattle, where he ruminates over Drago's offer, comes to terms with his past athletic triumphs and failures and discovers who he really is. There is much to recommend here. Finely detailed characters and well-developed plot lines combine to make this highly textured story a good read. 1998 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Dean, 18, is a baseball player whose glory days are behind him. At 15, he pitched for the world championship Little League team, and as a freshman he hit a game-winning grand slam. But after his arm gave out, he moved to first base and plunged into a two-year batting slump, losing any hope for a college scholarship. Since graduation he's been sliding sideways, wondering what his future holds. Interesting supporting characters, several of them adults, nudge Dean in various directions. Jack Trant, an affable supporter of college athletics who is estranged from his own son, finagles Dean a one-semester ``trial'' scholarship at a small private college. The young man realistically hesitates to commit himself to possible further humiliation playing the game he's loved. He meets a beautiful and enigmatic high-school dropout with a baby and they develop a friendly and supportive relationship, but it's Dean's encounters with several old baseball acquaintances that finally get him moving. In an exciting climax he survives a plunge down a ravine and is able to expunge some of his demons. The ending is delightfully ambiguous, as Dean is handed a pen to sign his letter of intent and readers are left to decide whether or not he will give baseball-and himself-another chance. Dean Duffy has stronger subplots and more likable characters than Powell's earlier YA novels.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA
Jeanne Triner
From Little League on, Dean Duffy was pegged to be a future baseball great, and that was fine with him--baseball was his life. Then his pitching arm went bad, he clutched and lost his swing as well, and by senior year of high school, he was not only without a scholarship, but also washed up. When his mentor finds a way for him to get one more chance through a trial scholarship, he's not sure it's worth the fight. As Dean struggles with his decision, he has to reexamine his life and his priorities, face his fear of failure, and learn just how much he's worth. The first-person narrative is straightforward and smoothly written; Dean is a likable and thoughtful character who could serve as a good role model for boys driven by their interest in sports; and there are several strong female characters, who make this an enjoyable read for girls as well.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780613563017
Publisher:
San Val, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/01/1995
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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