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In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle Paperback – January 1, 1996

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

They were a talented team with a near-perfect record but a reputation for choking in the crunch of the state playoffs. Finally, after five straight years of disappointments, the Amherst Lady Hurricanes found they just might have what it took to go all the way. This is a fierce, funny, and intimate look into their minds and hearts during one very special season. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction.

From Publishers Weekly

When Pulitzer Prize-winner Blais pokes gentle fun at Amherst, Mass., where an infuriated teen-aged athlete in the heat of the fray may yell, "You ignore your inner child!" you suspect this will be a special book. And it is, as the reader follows the Amherst High girls basketball team-the Lady Hurricanes-in the 1992-93 season, from game one on December 15 to the final game on March 16, when they all but obliterated Haverhill, 74-36, to win the state championship. While this is the story of well-bred, upper-middle class, genteel girls who learned to be tough, it is also a picture of a changing period in American sports history, when a town rallied around its female athletes in a way that had previously been reserved for males. Alternately funny, exciting and moving, the book should be enjoyed not only by girls and women who have played sports but also those who wanted to but let themselves be discouraged.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reissue edition (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446672106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446672108
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
I hadn't picked up this book until very recently because I was afraid it would be all about "girl power" and the idea that women are victims. But when I finally did pick it up, it took me only 2 nights to finish. It was so captivating. This book is not so much about the feminist movement as a groups of kids coming together, and concurrently, bringing their communtiy together. Blais also tells the story of each girl and the obstacles they have faced; but not in a "I'm a victim, have simpathy," way. She tells it in an "Is that all you got? I'm gonna walk all over you," way. Inspiring. This book couldn't have been written any more perfectly. As a high school athlete, I was able to associate with so many of the rituals and emotions of the team. I am also from the Amherst area and Blais does a wonderful job of painting a picture of the communtiy and its history. I recommend this book to everyone and anyone, but it should be required reading for every female high school athlete. It is simply unbelivable. You will not be disappointed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was outstanding! It was such a good story and it was really well written. If you are looking for some inspiration about basketball and teamwork then you should read this book! These girls are just amazing. What made this whole story better was the fact that it was a true story so you know that this REALLY happened. It was almost like a fairy tale- everything went as planned. I can't really describe my feelings for this book, it was incredible. When Jenny hugged her dad after the game I almost cired. Everyone should read this book whether they like basketball or not! I would also like to wish Jamila Wideman a happy birthday! She will be turning 24 on October 16. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMILA!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
My high-school basketball team gave me this book after I finished my senior year, and I am extremely grateful to them. If you have ever enjoyed participating in, watching, or following high-school sports, this is a book for you! It is full of the things that made me love the game to start with... the determination, pride, euphoria, occasional let-downs, pain, tenacity and adrenaline that I feel when playing basketball are clearly demonstrated in this wonderful book. Pick it up and read it, buy it for your daughters, buy it for your sons!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary Malmros on May 7, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Sportswriters often use the term "Cinderella story" to refer to an underdog team that makes it big. This book is an anti-Cinderella story -- and the reason why isn't what you might think. The result is a moral tale that every young woman, and everyone who cares about young women, should read.
We all remember the story of Cinderella, but we tend to forget the details. If we think about it at all, we think about it as a "dream come true" story. We forget how it happened. Remember Cinderella: the virtuous one, hardworking, uncomplaining, sweet-natured, beautiful under her grime -- and also, deprived, mocked, neglected and shut out. Her dream is to go to the ball, an event to which she had already been invited, along with all the other young women of the kingdom. Somehow she manages to work a deal with her wicked stepmother that will allow her to earn what she's already entitled to: in exchange for doing a seemingly impossible amount of housework, she will indeed be permitted to go to the ball. Virtue, grit, and determination swing into action, but when Cinderella manages to accomplish her half of the bargain, Stepmom reneges on hers -- and Cinderella accepts the outcome and sits herself down in the ashes, giving up what she's earned and accepting what she's given. Not until her fairy godmother shows up and practically drags her to the ball does she get to dance; not until the prince hunts her down and shoves the shoe on her foot does she get her dream.
I don't think the name of Cinderella is ever invoked in "In These Girls...", but the book could almost have been written as an antidote to the lessons of the Cinderella story.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lewis B. Hayes on September 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
I confess to being a fanatic about girls basketball. I've coached my daughters over a total of close to 9 years, and loved every minute of it. I also went to college in Amherst, as did my eldest daughter. She even knows one of the assistant coaches in the book.

I loved the book because of those interests, but I was a bit disappointed that it didn't provide more that would catch the interests of people who are not already passionate about it. I was hoping I would be able to recommend it to the middle school girls I coach to provide them some inspiration, but it didn't fit that bill. It is more of an almost superficial study of some very committed girls without giving any insights as to why they were so committed. Everybody knows that it takes commitment to win championships. Where does that come from?

I recommend the book to the parents of girls who are passionate about basketball. I recommend it to coaches of girls teams. And I recommend it to anyone with ties to the Amherst area. Beyond that, it's an ok read, and pretty short so it won't take a whole lot of time.

p.s. unlike another reviewer, I didn't find a feminist agenda coloring the book.
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