A Chance to Win: Boyhood, Baseball, and the Struggle for Redemption in the Inner City

Jonathan Schuppe. Holt, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9287-5
Newark Star-Ledger journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Schuppe expands on one of his articles with this story of a former drug dealer, Rodney, whose last name is never used. Rodney was a pitching phenom from Newark, N.J.’s South Ward; he was also a drug dealer by the time he was 14, and baseball was soon forgotten, but he “managed to keep his adult criminal record clean until he was nineteen.” His life spiraled downward until he was shot and partially paralyzed by a jealous boyfriend, after which he formed a neighborhood Little League team that was recognized as a beacon of hope in the “most violent part of Newark.” Schuppe’s prose is as unadorned as the bleak, urban landscape that he constructs, and it mirrors the difficult lives of his subjects. Redemption comes hard in the South Ward, though, and Schuppe’s personal involvement compromises his objectivity and leaves him vulnerable to Rodney the dealer, an aspect that renders the story as much about Schuppe and Newark, a “national emblem of urban dysfunction,” as it is about baseball and redemption. Agent: Larry Weissman. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/28/2013
Release date: 05/07/2013
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4299-7443-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-250-05009-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-3811-0
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