Thursday, 10 May 2012

Sophomore Campaign - Frank Nappi

In the sequel to 'The Legend of Mickey Tussler', Mickey is recovering from the awful and confusing end of last years baseball season. His refusal to return to the game is overcome by Arthur 'Murph' Murphy's gentle persuasion. Murph doubles his efforts to convince Mickey's mother Molly that really this time, Mickey will be fine. Before long, the reserved pitcher is back playing with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Murph's job is yet again on the line. Saving the team this time round is a young African American. And in 1949 Milwaukee, Murph knows that he is not only risking his career but the safety of his family and the team.

Can Mickey understand the racial hatred subjected to his new best friend Lester 'Hammer' Sledge? Struggling with such cruelty and bigotry being banded around, his game suffers. Is Murph able to reign in the erratic and isolated thoughts of Mickey, quell Lester's fears and finally beat the Rangers and his arch nemesis Chip McNally?

Yet again Nappi has penned a riveting and heartfelt story. The racial threats described are raw and shows a troubling time for a black man who struggles to show his natural talent in a predominantly white game. Lester's anger and frustrations are portrayed realistically and it would have been easy for Nappi to make the team all love him after an inspirational chat from Murph, but it's not the case. With a few unexpected twists, the language used is still eloquent and the range of emotions from loss to love adds to the depth of the story. In this second outing for Mickey, I was pleased to get to know him a little more and be right there with him when he feels lost or confused. Writing about race and sport could have been treated in a glib manner but the topic was treated respectfully.

I was a tad disappointed with the ending but it makes me wonder or rather, hope for this sequel to become a trilogy. Without any doubt a highly recommended read.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author to review. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not expected to give a positive review. 

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