I was drawn to this book for two reasons. First, I read one of Frank Nappi's other books, Nobody Has to Know a couple of months ago, and was blown away by his writing. Second, I have a strong heart for autism, as I encounter it regularly through my teaching job, in the community, and in my friends' children.
Frank Nappi again masterfully handles what could be a delicate topic and situation in his character Mickey. Mickey is high functioning autistic. His talent is pitching baseballs that no one can hit. His obsessions are his pet pig and counting. When he is frustrated, he rocks back and forth and recites a poem he learned from his mother. Yes, a lot of this does sound a lot more like Rainman, about whom I did think a lot while reading this book. Rainman was a more rare example of autism, both as a character and in real life. Mickey just feels so much more familiar to me.
Murphy is highly protective of Mickey. The other guys on the team make fun of him and even mistreat him, despite his prowess on the field. As time goes on, though, they learn to respect him and possibly even admire him a bit. This doesn't happen without an uphill battle, though, parts of which are horrifying, and it's an inspirational one.
Reading the book made me think of some of the good Stephen King stories, and possibly a John Grisham or two. The writing is strong. The characters are vivid. I felt comfortable reading them, like I knew them. I also thought he captured the voice of the time period.
I have the second book in the series, as well, and can't wait to read that one. I have heard that a third one is possibly in the works. Preview the second book below.
Purchase The Legend of Mickey Tussler on Amazon.
Purchase Sophomore Campaign on Amazon.
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