Friday, January 4, 2008

The Journal of Biddy Owens

The Journal of Biddy Owens / the Negro Leagues

by Walter Dean Myers (2001)

Part of a series, "life as it was" through diaries of people in America, Biddy Owens is the clubhouse attendant for a Negro League baseball team in 1948. Not fluff, very well written; poignant in touching on race, family, and even the realization of not being good enough to make the team. It helps to know baseball for this one, to follow the action (reminds me of those old-time sports stories for boys) and for the real world characters that populate the book (Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, the new center fielder Willie Mays)... there are even photos of baseball in the 40's, and historical notes on baseball integration and the Negro Leagues. I did not like the "Epilogue" detailing the fictional lead and his family's life after the story, it rang false, almost like trying to trick me into thinking Biddy was real, and unnecessary.

(some comments and an interview with the author here)

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