Book Review 48: Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park

Posted November 2, 2009 by Lisa Mandina in / 0 Comments

This was a major tear jerker. And to think the fact that it was a sports themed book made me not want to read it. And again, as I commented on another book from the Truman list I believe, some of the “accents” were a bit annoying. This is about a family from Brooklyn. The main character is Maggie, called Maggie-o by her dad after Joe DiMaggio. The family, and whole neighborhood are really big into baseball, specifically the Dodgers. This is right at the time of the Korean War. Maggie’s dad is a fireman, or was until he was injured in a fire. So Maggie hangs out at the fire station a lot. She meets a new guy there named Jim. He teaches her how to keep score of the games, so she always can tell people what has happened and not forget. She gets really into it and starts keeping notebooks for the whole seasons. She begins to like the Giants because of Jim, especially Willie Mays. Even though she still is loyal to the Dodgers. Jim gets sent off to Korea. At first Maggie writes him all the time and he writes her back. He tells her about the boat ride over, and a young Korean boy who is the tent boy. He even sends her a picture of them. Then, all of a sudden, the letters stop. Maggie doesn’t know what has happened. And no one tells her until after a while, it finally comes out that Jim was at a terrible battle and while not hurt, when he went to lay down and rest, he did, but then just stayed there, not moving, not talking. He came home the same way. Maggie comes up with a scheme to try to get him talking again by saving up her confirmation money and allowance long enough to take her whole family and Jim and his sister and her family to see the Dodgers play the Giants. but Jim and his sister don’t show up the whole game.

Maggie’s prayers for Jim, the teams, all of it is heartwrenching. How she feels when some of her prayers seem to work, but others don’t is the way I know I feel all the time. Her feelings of helplessness and frustration I feel a lot, and so I was in tears through a lot of the last half of the book.

It’s a great book. So glad I read it.

On to the 2nd to last book, Thank you, Lucky Stars by Beverly Donofrio. Only one more after that, but still waiting on it from the library.

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