THE YOUNGEST HERO

Jerry B. Jenkins, Author . Warner $22.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-446-52903-7

Jenkins's goal in high school was to be a professional baseball player, so it's not surprising that the coauthor of the popular Left Behind series and numerous "as told to" baseball autobiographies would pen this light yarn of a young prodigy who makes it to the major leagues. Elgin Woodell comes by his talent honestly: his daddy, Neal, was once a major league prospect. But with Neal in the Alabama State Penitentiary, Elgin's mother, Miriam, is left to raise their 10-year-old son on her own, moving from Hattiesburg, Miss., to Chicago to escape the stigma of her divorce and her husband's bad reputation. Elgin hones his talent on the streets playing fast pitch and trying to fit into local leagues that are correct for his age group but not his talent. Success, however, is just around the corner. Fans of the Left Behind series will recognize Jenkins's trademark touches of humor, as well as his predisposition to be long on dialogue and short on characterization. There's a nice romance between Miriam and Lucas Harkness, the owner of Lucky's Secondhand Shop. Although Elgin's raw talent is believable for this type of tale, his precocious wisdom is unlikely. Like Hometown Legend, much of the book reads like it was made for the screen (and with Jenkins's new entertainment company transforming several of his novels to film, perhaps it was). Baseball fans will gladly stick with the story until the final inning, when 14-year-old Elgin steps up to the plate and achieves his dreams. (Apr. 3)

Reviewed on: 03/11/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-56788-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58621-267-4
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