She's Got Next

( 1 )

Overview

When Melissa King, a transplanted southerner in search of connection, finds herself on the lean, mean streets of Chicago, she turns to her childhood passion for basketball. In her late twenties, King is at a crossroads in her life, and the randomness of the game as it is played on the streets suits her mood. The rules are unwritten, the teams a haphazard collection of players, and unlike anything else around her, the courts feel like home. So wherever there is a game, she gets her ball and goes. From the rough, ...

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Overview

When Melissa King, a transplanted southerner in search of connection, finds herself on the lean, mean streets of Chicago, she turns to her childhood passion for basketball. In her late twenties, King is at a crossroads in her life, and the randomness of the game as it is played on the streets suits her mood. The rules are unwritten, the teams a haphazard collection of players, and unlike anything else around her, the courts feel like home. So wherever there is a game, she gets her ball and goes. From the rough, male-dominated inner-city courts of Chicago, she travels to lazy oceanside pickup games in sunny California and dilapidated gyms in her Bible Belt home state.
In a street-smart voice full of understated humor and palpable hope, King chronicles her journey, using the rhythms of the court to riff on the issues of race, class, gender, religion, sexual politics, and love. Ultimately, through the jubilant swish of the net, the brunt of an egregious foul, and the knowing glance of a stranger who says yes, you can be on my team, King discovers in those rare moments on the court the countless things she wants in life but cannot name.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
King grew up in Arkansas shooting baskets in the driveway with her brother. At 27, she moved to Chicago and found herself yearning for the court in an effort to erase an inner emptiness. Her tender memoir chronicles her playing pickup basketball, meandering from playground to gym to YMCA. King first joins an amateur league, but soon branches out to Chicago's many and various multicultural neighborhood pickup games. Basketball helps her escape her less than satisfying job and love life, but she's equally engaged by the character and psychology of her fellow players, like the "old park dude" who hangs out at Wicker Park, and Tina, "a little tomboy hotdog" living in the projects. King's basketball life-and this book-wander pleasantly from game to game until, at age 35, she discovers her skills are slipping. Her desire to stay tied to basketball leads her to coach a team of 10-year-old girls, and the book takes a new direction. Transformed from casual player to coach, King evolves from a slightly removed participant to a passionate leader. Her growth is a surprising, satisfying ending to a story with wide appeal. Agent, Stella Connell. (June 9) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A sports journalist scores a smooth three-pointer with her debut memoir. King grew up in rural Arkansas, where there were no "flute lessons or gymnastics," so she spent her time wading in her grandparents' pond and shooting hoops in the driveway with her brother. Still, she didn't give basketball much thought until, at age 27, she moved to Chicago to take a job at a natural foods company. After a few months in the big city, she joined a basketball league, mostly to stave off restless loneliness. And so begins a meditation on baskets and life. Basketball takes King through her years in the big city and back home to the Natural State. When she hits her mid-30s and decides she's too old to play pickup ball with teenage boys, she begins coaching fourth-grade girls. At the close, she's teaching her two-year-old son to appreciate the game. King's gentle self-deprecation makes her a lovable narrator, with her cool humor a plus throughout: her first job was "unremarkable," she says, but it was a pretty big deal for a girl whose parents "married at nineteen, quickly had two babies, and spent the next twenty years recovering." (See also the love scene with a satyr, too detailed to adequately summarize, but really funny). King's episodic text has too many vignettes and not enough narrative; a little more glue between basketball musings and a tad more about her life would have better held the book together and maintained the reader's interest. But her poetic prose, as rhythmic as a dribble, will carry readers wherever she goes. If Alexander Wolff and Anne Lamott teamed up, they might slam-dunk something like this-but King did it all by herself.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618264568
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 6/9/2005
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 407,045
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Melissa King has written for Sports Illustrated, Chicago Reader, Sport Literate, Arkansas Times, and other publications. Her story 'It's All in the Game' was selected by Richard Ford for The Best American Sports Writing 1999. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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Table of Contents

Warm Up 1
Away Games 3
Visitors' Side 49
Home Court 87
Training Camp 113
Sidelines 131
Overtime 179
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2005

    Awesome Basketball Story

    This is a great book for any basketball nut like me. I read this book in two days, it was awesome.

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