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When historian Goodwin was six years old, her father taught her how to keep score for ‘ their’ team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, which forged a lifelong bond between father and daughter. Set in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, Wait Till Next Year is a coming-of-age memoir in the era of Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider, when baseball truly was a national pastime that brought whole communities together.
With her radio by her side and scorecard to hand, she recreates the postwar era, when the corner store was a place to share stories and neighborhoods were equally divided between Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans. Weaved between the games and the seasons, Goodwin tells the story of a changing America – from the lunacy of the Cold War alarm drills to McCarthy and the Rosenburg trials – as well as her own loss of innocence encapsulated by her mother’ s death, her father’ s lapse into despair and the Dodger’ s departure from Brooklyn in 1957 following the destruction of the iconic Ebbets Field stadium.
Poignant, unsentimental and deeply eloquent, Wait Till Next Year is a profound memoir about childhood and loss, baseball, and the power of sport to bind families and heal loss and reveal as metaphor the evolving heart of a nation.
This memoir by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian (No Ordinary Time) is a moving ode to her father and to their shared love of baseball. The word "recollections" in the subtitle rather than "reflections," say, is an apt designation of the book's content, which is charming and endearing, though does not allow access into the author's inner life. The baseball games of Goodwin's New York City youth are dramatically and beautifully narrated--it is refreshing to read about a girl's passion for the sport; her childhood love of the game and the three teams that played in the city in the 1950s is evident in every paragraph. But when Goodwin focuses on herself and her family apart from baseball--her mother was chronically ill and dies in the final pages of the book--she seems content to skim the surface of the story, with emotion held too deeply in check for what ought to have been the book's climax. Yet in the pages giving her childhood perspective on such things as race and the Army-McCarthy hearings, we behold the deep roots of this historian's success in her art. Photos not seen by PW.