2 out of 4 stars
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My Football Story, by Wesley Eggleston, tells the story of the author’s high school football career in the San Francisco Bay area. The book started life as a ten-page homework assignment. As predicted by his creative-writing teacher, the author returned to the assignment years after finishing school and worked it up into this short book. It’s a work of nonfiction, as the author is telling his own story. There are twelve illustrations by Bonnie Lou Coleman scattered through the book, and it ends with a fact sheet and a glossary.
When Wesley moves into a new grade at high school, he decides to leave basketball aside and try football instead. Wesley is new to the game, but he takes to it like a natural and finds his niche as an offensive lineman. He works hard in practice and is soon catching the eye of his coaches. Wesley gets a real sense of achievement from his efforts, but there are aspects of the game he finds hard; when he gets repeatedly tackled by a much larger and stronger opponent, he realizes that this game hurts! Unsurprisingly, he suffers from muscle soreness and a few mild headaches after practices. On top of that, his grades slip as a result of his commitment to football. Not too long into his career, Wesley is faced with a crisis in his life, one that will have a huge impact on his dreams of playing football at a high level.
The author successfully captures the hard work and passion that goes into amateur sport. He describes the highs, the lows, the joy, and the frustration of team games. The book provides some good insights into the trials and tribulations of young footballers, highlighting the dedication they bring to their sport. I also liked the way the author uses language. He takes care to avoid clichéd phrases, and his descriptions are succinct but on the money. Describing the consistency of a hard-tackling footballer, for example, he writes: “He delivered pain like a mailman delivered the mail.” The biggest compliment I can pay this writer is to say that I enjoyed his story and finished reading it wanting more.
Ultimately, however, the book disappoints on two counts. Firstly, there are too many grammatical and typographical errors, something which suggests that the book has not been professionally edited. Secondly, the book’s printing and presentation leave much to be desired. There are no page numbers or chapter headings, while page breaks often occur mid-line and mid-sentence, leaving one or two words hanging in the air. This is a great shame because the author tells his story well and deserves to have it showcased better.
I am awarding this book two out of four stars, deducting one star for the number of errors and one for the poor-quality production. The book is suitable for a young readership and will be enjoyed particularly by those involved in school sport, as they will identify with many of the writer’s experiences. Don’t be put off by the two-star rating; this is a book worth reading.
My Football Story
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