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Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told Through Baseball Cards Hardcover – April 20, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
When I tried to describe what Cardboard Gods was about to some friends, I had a hard time. It's a book that is not just read for pleasure, but it also takes you back in time in a way that even a history book can't do.
Cardboard Gods is, in a nutshell, one man's way of piecing together a narrative about his life (especially his childhood) using baseball cards. But that really doesn't do the book justice. The baseball cards are not just pictures of players from over 30 years ago. Instead, they are launching points to get the reader involved with the life of the author.
Wilker expertly weaves together the two threads about his life (growing up most of his life in Vermont with his mother and her boyfriend while his father lived in New York) and the baseball cards and players of the late 1970s.
For a book of a little over 240 pages, there is so much to learn. Even for someone who had a pretty good idea how Josh Wilker's story would come out, I was captivated by the story. It is a unique contribution to baseball literature. It is a valuable contribution to literature all together.
Without a doubt, we're hooked on collecting these little "cardboard gods"; and the author of this book, Josh Wilker, has paid a personal tribute to many of the cards he collected as a kid from the mid '70s - early '80s, with a wonderful narrative that is well-written, at times humorous, and at times quite poignant, as he relives the memories - some good, some not so good - that each card evokes.
From Bake McBride to Thurman Munson; from Jim Rice to Rickey Henderson; each story is told with refreshing candor and eloquence as Wilker rehashes various events from his rather difficult and mundane childhood; always, it's the memories which are attached directly to his personal collection. For every memory the author shares, the reader will more than likely relive their own personal anecdotes that are directly related to that particular card. As an avid collector for many years, I have most of the cards the author shares, including the 1980 Rickey Henderson rookie card, which by chance, seemed to be the most common card that came in the batch of "random" cards I purchased.Read more ›
1) This is NOT a book about baseball cards or how to collect them or anything like that
2) This book is a memoir of the author
3) Recommended ages for this book 16+
With that out of the way...I've collected baseball cards for over 25 years now so when I saw this book and saw images of baseball cards from the 70's and 80's throughout the book I was excited. I thought "Here's a book that's going to talk about how collecting cards influenced the writer's life" or how it impacted his life in some amazing way and that each of the cards had some great significance. But...honestly I was left disappointed. Yes baseball card's were a major part of his life and was one of the ways the writer connected with his brother and at some points the cards did have an impact in his life. But, often times it felt like the card chosen was tacked on to the story and really had no bearing. Even worse this story was, I don't want to say boring, but it was depressing. It seems like he didn't really have any happy moments growing up. He was called names constantly, his family life was weird, he and his brother didn't always get along, and on and on. Even moments that should have been happy, such as going to a concert, become depressing because a) they didn't really know anything about the guy playing and b) they didn't realize that there was an act beforehand the main guy and left before he ever came on.
Honestly I wish I could have liked this book. I even tried picking it up on different days in hopes that I just wasn't in the right mindset when I started...but the feeling didn't change. The book, while well written, is just depressing to me. It is a creative way to tell a memoir, using baseball cards as the starting points for the chapters, but it just doesn't work for me. Perhaps it will for others though.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reading this book about a dorky guy and his brother collecting cards in the late 1970s, and growing up in a weird family in Vermont is hauntingly similar to my own childhood... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Gordon Murphy
As a reader of a variety of books, I occasionally like to read a book just for sheer entertainment value. This book has loads of entertainment value in abundance! Read morePublished 1 day ago by FAMDaddy
Read this book. Funny. Heartbreaking. I read every page twice because it was so beautifully written.Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
I mentally connected with Josh's writings earlier, through his blog, also called Cardboard Gods. His stories reminded me so much of my childhood, and re-living it through the... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
If you collected baseball cards, this is a must read. It's really good vacation read, because the chapters are really short and it gives you time to relax and reflect on how it... Read morePublished 5 days ago by christopher c dunne
I'll get this out of the way and say it's a "must read" for anyone who grew up in the 70's and early 80's collecting baseball cards. Without giving away too much... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Fuji
This is a genuinely beautiful memoir. There is so much great about it that I can only point out one negative - people will think it's just about baseball cards. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Head ChImp
This book is incredible. It's about sports and brotherhood, in a melancholic fashion that isn't frequently paired, but is immensely powerful. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Paul R Schulzetenberg
I was hooked after reading the first paragraph! The way Wilker en twines the growth into manhood with very specifically chosen baseball cards is simply wonderful! Read morePublished 7 days ago by bonnie dell