Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Review of "Crackerjack Halfback," by Matt Christopher

Review of

Crackerjack Halfback, by Matt Christopher 

Four out of five stars

 This book of adolescent sports fiction stars Freddie as a fast football halfback restricted to only playing offense as he is reluctant to engage in the level of contact needed to make tackles. Which is a disadvantage to his team, for they need his speed on the defensive side of the ball. Freddie is being raised by his single mother and he often wishes his dad were there to give him advice. Freddie is also the equivalent of a big brother to Jimmie, a younger child in the neighborhood.

 When Freddie faces potential death in a car accident and has to decide whether to attend a Halloween party or take Jimmie trick-or-treating, he learns that football is no substitute for the challenges of life. As a consequence, Freddie acquires the courage to make strong tackles, making him a valuable member of the defensive team.

 What is different about this book and a positive feature is that this is not just another book where the main character is playing the big game at the end for a title. Freddie’s team is not championship caliber, their last game is being played so that they will finish with a .500 record. Furthermore, while Freddie is a good player, he is not a star, making all the big plays in leading his team to victory.

 The best part of this book is Freddie’s relationship with Jimmie, lacking a father himself, he knows what it is like not to have attention from an older male. Rather than mope about it, he becomes a friend to a boy that needs what he lacks. In many ways this is a book more about growing up than it is about playing football.

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