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The Desperado Who Stole Baseball Paperback – Audiobook, Unabridged
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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Dillontown was built upon a gold mine. Yet for the villagers, life is about something even more valuable: baseball. Home to the Dillontown Nine, they would give anything to join the ranks of professional ballplayers?even their gold. Yet to make it, they will need to defeat the world champion Chicago White Stockings?and their crooked owner, willing to wager anything for the mine, and willing to do anything to avoid losing. Fortunately, Dillontown is home to two boys who know a little something about winning. One is young Jack Dillon, nephew to Dillontown founder Long John Dillon. The other? A boy on the run, in need of a second chance: none other than Billy the Kid.
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Part tall tale, part historical fiction and COMPLETELY enjoyable -- think Mark Twain describing a showdown on a baseball diamond in a Wild West town where the "church" is in an abandoned gold mine -- "Desperado" is a fast-paced story starring young Jack Dillon and his new companion, Billy the Kid. Yes, that Billy the Kid, "wanted, dead or alive."
Jack heads west to follow his dream to play for the Dillontown Nine Baseball Club, led by his long-lost Uncle Long John Dillon, a black man. (Jack is merely dark-skinned, a minor detail he talks his way around. Jack is a VERY good talker.) African-Americans were barred from professional baseball until the mid-20th century (grrrrr), but in Dillontown, anyone can play the game - including Jack and Billy. John Dillon has challenged the National League champion Chicago White Stockings to a game with an enormous winner-takes-all jackpot. Jack and Billy are drawn into the contest with surprising - and enormously satisfying - results.
Can a baseball book steal your heart? This one does.
(A version of this review appeared in the Palo Alto Weekly.)
I give this book a 10 out of 10. This is an amazing book. I loved most of it. I couldn't put it down when I had to quit! If you like westerns and/or baseball, then this book is definitely for you!
This one is no different. An unlikely pair, fifteen year old Jake and Billy the Kid, join forces reluctantly and that's where the adventure starts. "When the game ends, you either had a good life or a bad one or a hobgoblin of both. But it's over, right? You move on...Because Tomorrow -- and here's the best part -- tomorrow you are born again."
Not only is John's Desperado entertaining, but his tradmark "musicality of language" makes this book an excellent suggestion for classroom studies. Teachers can use Desperado to introduce the late 19th century West,African-American studies, social studies discussions of freedom, and certainly writing models of good word choice.
All in all, I'd say this one is another home run! If you like this book you'll enjoy the rest of John's books The Boy Who Saved Baseball][[ASIN:0698119312 Over the Wall,Under the Baseball Moon, and Choosing up sides.