Friday, July 6, 2012

The Pitcher's Kid

The Pitcher's Kid: A Memoir
Jack Olsen
Aequitas Books
Pleasure Book Studio: A Literary Press
ISBN: 978-1-929355-76-1
$ 19.95
Trade Paperback Original

Most memoirs are about a person and how wonderful that person is, in their own
viewpoint, slightly jaded and egotistical. The Pitcher's Kid, though, is a
realistic, down-to-earth perspective from the eyes of Jack Olsen who grew up as
a child of the depression who had the weight-of-the-world on his shoulders,
fulfilling the dreams and expectations of his father, a former major league
baseball pitcher. This is not an account building anyone's ego.

Unfortunately forJack, he does not easily live up to being his father's progeny,
and discovers that he is lousy in sports. It doesn't help either that he skipped
a grade in elementary school, so he really is the smallest and the last one to
be chosen for team games. Also, his father has his own version of English
which is naturally the only correct way of speaking since the words came
directly from his mouth.

Besides his father's athletic reputation, Jack's father has a fondness for
gambling and talking big. Unfortunately, to balance that, he is not reliable
and causes his family many financial problems while others are also having
problems during the Great Depression.

The Pitcher's Kid is wonderful with Jack Olsen's personal voice making this a
laughable, delightful, realistic, and memorable read. Yes, there is definitely
adult language but in this particular novel, it does not seem inappropriate, but
genuine to the situation. The society pressures of the communities makes this
feel like you are right there with Jack in many of his awkward situations during
his first seventeen years of life, prior to our country entering World War II.
Also, the places in New Jersey and Philadelphia had their own identities, and
sometimes languages, making this a perfect glimpse into life in these times and

Jack Olsen lived from 1925-2002. He became an author who won numerous awards
publishing thirty-three books, being a former Times bureau chief, and writing
for a variety of magazines.

Others have compared Jack Olsen's writing of this book to Frank McCourt,
Geoggrey Wolff, and David Sedaris. Yes, I have read these, but Jack Olsen's is
more sincere and even has a little taste of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Of
all of these, unquestionably, Jack's personal voice is the best.

The Pitcher's Kid is an educational and enlightening journey to a past time that
hopefully will never need to be repeated.

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