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The Brooklyn nine : a novel in nine innings
Book
2009
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Gratz (Samurai Shortstop, 2006) builds this novel upon a clever enough conceit nine stories (or innings), each following the successive generations in a single family, linked by baseball and Brooklyn and executes it with polish and precision. In the opening stories, there is something Scorsese-like (albeit with the focus on players, not gangsters)  in Gratz's treatment of early New York: a fleet-footed German immigrant helps Alexander Cartwright (credited with creating modern baseball) during a massive 1845 factory fire; a young boy meets his hero, the great King Kelly, who by age 30 is a washed-up alcoholic scraping by as a vaudeville act. The pace lags a bit in the middle innings, where a talented young girl stars in the WW II-era All-American Girls Baseball League and a card-collecting boy lives in fear of the Russians, Sputnik, and the atomic bomb. But the final two stories provide a flurry of late-inning heroics: a Little League pitcher's shot at a perfect game told with breathtaking verve; and a neat stitching-together effort to close the book. Each of the stories are outfitted with wide-ranging themes and characters that easily warrant more spacious confines, but taken together they present a sweeping diaspora of Americana, tracking the changes in a family through the generations, in society at large for more than a century and a half, and, not least, in that quintessential American pastime.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2009 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Nearly nine generations span the years from Alexander Cartwright's 1840s Knickerbocker Base Ball days to the present, and Gratz places a young character from a fictional family of Brooklynites in each, threading their stories together with the development of the American bat and ball game. Abner Doubleday makes a very brief appearance at a Union Army camp (even as the author discredits the myth that Doubleday founded modern baseball). An eager batboy from the Brooklyn Superbas persuades a talented Negro player to come to a tryout as an American Indianand loses his love for his team when it's clear that no one on the team will give Cyclone "Smoky" Joe Williams (later described as the best pitcher in any league) a chance to play. John Kiernan, the legendary journalist and facts man, lends a hand to a young numbers runner following a Brooklyn Robins game in the 1930s. The fictional voice is sure and engaging, polished without being slickan entertaining and compelling look at the deep roots of our national pastime. (author's notes) (Historical fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
1845: Felix Schneider, an immigrant from Germany, cheers the New York Knickerbockers as they play Three-Out, All-Out. <p>1908: Walter Snider, batboy for the Brooklyn Superbas, arranges a team tryout for a black pitcher by pretending he is Cuban.</p> <p>1945: Kat Snider of Brooklyn plays for the Grand Rapids Chicks in the All-American Girls Baseball League.</p> <p>1981: Michael Flint fi nds himself pitching a perfect game during the Little League season at Prospect Park.</p> <p>And there are fi ve more Schneiders to meet.</p> <p>In nine innings, this novel tells the stories of nine successive Schneider kids and their connection to Brooklyn and baseball. As in all family histories and all baseball games, there is glory and heartache, triumph and sacrifi ce. And it ain't over till it's over.<br> <br></p>
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