“Welcome to the Show” by Frank Nappi
Baseball, fiction, Braves, family, Young adult
April 19, 2016
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
In this third book of the Mickey Tussler series, Mickey now finds himself pitching in the major leagues for the Boston Braves. His manager (who is also now his stepfather) Arthur Murphy and catcher Lester are also employed by the 1950 Braves and the story of their adventures in the National League is the best of the three stories about the young autistic pitcher.
Nappi writes with flowing grace no matter which particular topic is being addressed. Whether it’s Mickey throwing his fastball with pinpoint accuracy, his budding romance with Jolene, the sister of a Braves teammate, or some of the poignant exchanges between Murphy and Molly, his wife and Mickey’s mother, the reader will be gripped in the emotions of the moment.
The reader will also feel a strong connection with the characters in this story. Of course, those who have read the previous two stories already have had that attachment with Mickey, Molly, Murphy and Lester, but it continues with the introduction of Jolene. Having suffered rejection by a parent during her childhood like Mickey, her character is the perfect match for Mickey and their conversations and budding relationship made for the best passages of the book.
Which isn’t to say that the baseball writing is bad – these parts are just as good as they are in the first two segments. Using real players from the 1950 season but taking liberties with actual baseball history, it was fun to read about the ups and downs of the Braves as they progress through the season. No spoilers to tell how the season ends, but how the young pitcher, his grizzled manager and level-headed catcher handle the adventures of the campaign will enthrall any baseball fan.
With great storytelling, a tender romantic story and some life lessons along the way, “Welcome to the Show” is a terrific read while following Mickey’s baseball career. His story is one of the best literary series of books I have read.
I wish to thank Mr. Nappi for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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