Like Any Normal Day: A Story of Devotion

Mark Kram, Author
Mark Kram Jr. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-65003-2
Reviewed on: 02/27/2012
Release date: 04/24/2012
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That autumn Friday night in 1973 started out like any other, with crosstown rivals, William Tennent High School and Plymouth Whitemarsh, squaring off on the gridiron against each other. Leading Tennent was quarterback Buddy Miley, a flashy but outstanding player who modeled himself after Joe Namath and Pistol Pete Maravich. Well-liked by his teammates and beloved by his schoolmates, Miley’s impressive athletic ability had already gained the attention of several college scouts. Across the line, defensive player Carmen Frangeosi Jr. hated quarterbacks; they aggravated him with their air of superiority. On game night, Frangeosi’s coach assigned him to Miley, telling the defensive player to hit Miley every time the quarterback touched the ball. Early in the game, Frangeosi tackled Miley in a bone-jarring hit that left Miley a quadriplegic, stopping short Miley’s football career and shooting him into a downward spiral in his life. After Miley’s injury on the field, his little brother, Jimmy, devoted hours and hours to his older brother, keeping him company and providing entertainment when Miley is down. Miley struggles with his pain, his loss of mobility, and the inability ever to live life in the way he had once dreamed. When Miley decides that he can’t stand the emotional and physical pain any longer, he asks Jimmy to help him end his life; Jimmy does so out of his overwhelming love for his brother but with ethical questions that gnaw at him forever. Drawing on interviews with Miley’s family and friends, Philadelphia sportswriter Kram elegantly tells a poignant and sad tale of struggle, loss, and love that illustrates both how quickly life can change and how deep our bonds to our families grow through times of crisis. (Apr.)
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