Title: The All-American
Author: Susie Finkbeiner
Major Themes: Communism, Writing, Baseball, Sports, Friendship
Synopsis: Bertha’s passion is baseball and her sister Flossie loves reading, but neither has any real friends; when trouble strikes the family, can they rebuild their lives in a better way?
Susie Finkbeiner’s books are unique. The All-American is the third one I have read by her, and every time, I’ve come away saying, “That was a good book—but what was the plot?” She has a way of drawing her readers in and creating a memorable book, without a clear endpoint to the plot.
In Michigan in 1952, all the high school girls dream of and prepare for getting married as soon as possible. Bertha has no interest in that. All she dreams of is baseball. She lives and breathes baseball and spends her spare time playing the game with the local boys. When the opportunity arises to join the girls’ team, the Sweet Peas, she knows this is where she belongs. But then life changes suddenly.
Bertha’s father, a famous author, is accused of being a member of the Communist Party. When the family is shunned and mistreated, they secretly escape to a small town some distance away, where no one knows them except shy Uncle Matt. There, Bertha and her younger sister, Flossie, who is only interested in reading, build their lives all over again.
All the way through The All-American, the point of view shifts back and forth between Bertha and Flossie. It’s quite interesting to see each event from each girl’s perspective. The family dynamics are interesting to read about, as well. I have never read a book that had to do with the investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee and their hunt for communists in the United States, and it was rather unreal to see how neighbors and friends turned on each other. I really enjoyed this book—although, as I said already, there wasn’t much of a plot. It’s more of a psychological story, about what happened inside the girls and their family throughout the year.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: There was a lot more language than I am used to in Christian fiction. Words that were repeated over and over are: doggone, darn, gosh, golly, gee whiz, heck, dickens. A baby’s death is described, and a man is killed in an accident. There is also a scene in which bricks are thrown through a window at night.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults