By the award-winning author of Team of Rivals and The Bully Pulpit, Wait Till Next Year is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s touching memoir of growing up in love with her family and baseball.
Set in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, Wait Till Next Year re-creates the postwar era, when the corner store was a place to share stories and neighborhoods were equally divided between Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans.
We meet the people who most influenced Goodwin’s early life: her mother, who taught her the joy of books but whose debilitating illness left her housebound: and her father, who taught her the joy of baseball and to root for the Dodgers of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, and Gil Hodges. Most important, Goodwin describes with eloquence how the Dodgers’ leaving Brooklyn in 1957, and the death of her mother soon after, marked both the end of an era and, for her, the end of childhood.
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.
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By Cheryl Frizzy
Engaging, well written by this master story teller of history. Especially meaningful for those of us who grew up in New York and who grew to love baseball through the eyes of our parents. Poignant look back at a simpler time of precomputer friendships, of bike rides and libraries, of autograph books and corner stores.