Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThis collection is not so much about winning and losing, teamwork and competition in the sports arena as it is about facing these issues in the bigger game of life. Jonathan Baumbach's ``The Return of Service'' follows a session of father-and-son tennis in which the son views his parent's dual role as competitor and instructor. The troubles inherent in coming of age are a theme throughout: in Toni Cade Bambara's ``Raymond's Run,'' an inner-city girl who is ``serious about my running and don't care who knows it'' comes to a greater appreciation of the disabled brother entrusted to her care. Through truly witty dialogue, Ann Packer traces a teenager's attempt at making the cheerleading squad and the mechanisms of her inevitable failure in ``Horse.'' There are plenty of well-known writers here-Garrison Keillor, Susan Straight, John Sayles, Mark Helprin, Ellen Gilchrist, Ethan Canin and John Edgar Wideman, to name a few. Although each writer's voice is distinctive, editor Schinto grouped pieces by both theme and writing style, resulting in a collection in which stories read as cohesively as the chapters of a novel. (Aug.)
The ALAN Review - Mike AngelottiThis is no ordinary collection of sports short stories. It shoots for the soul of the athlete in all of us, female and male, old and young. It shoots for the soul of sport, major and minor. As participants in the actions, we learn about taking risks, making quick decisions, perseverance, and concentration. Make no mistake, the adventure, the action, the drama of the playing field are here, but as backdrop, not center stage. And the stories themselves push the edge of fiction writing. The mother and son playing in the same Minnesota Vikings backfield in the championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The blind distance runner. The sixty-year-old sculler. The obese swimmer who loses so much weight that she disappears. What Jeanne Schinto quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald in her introduction she tests in her book: "Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy." Definitely this is a book for the serious literature teacher's study. The subtlety and treatment of subject matter, however, suggest judicious choice for students. Oh, but there are some happy choices for the ready ones.
The ALAN Review - Alan M. McLeodSchinto effectively groups 21 stories in 6 categories. The sports, ranging from rowing to soccer, hockey to basketball, golf to running, are vehicles to examine, as Schinto states, "the themes and issues that sports evoke." Opening with Jim Shepard's "Ida," a story about a professional football team with a mother as the star running back, the book includes stories from as far back as 1960 - Toni Cade Bambara's "Raymond's Run" - through Garrison Keillor's "What Did We Do Wrong?" (1989) to Marisa Labozzetta's "Offsides," written especially for this volume. The book contains both male and female protagonists and is almost as diverse in ethnic group representation as sports. About more than winning or losing, the book is an examination of various aspects of the human condition. A good read, provocative and generally for older adolescents.
School Library JournalYA-A fine collection of 21 short stories. While competition is a central theme, all of the selections explore the most basic human emotions in situations familiar or readily imaginable to YAs. Many are about coming of age, and how competing in a sport affected the difficult transitions to adulthood. Several discuss strong and weak family situations; others describe athletic competition as the catalyst in overcoming personal or physical weaknesses. The stories are nicely balanced. The personalities are evenly divided between male and female characters who depict the many walks of American life; baseball, football, golf, cheerleading, boxing, bowling, tennis, and running are among the sports represented. While many of these stories are about young people, some poignantly describe the effect of aging. A thought-provoking anthology.-Catherine Noonan, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
- Persea Books
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.01(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.79(d)
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