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Just finished up St. John of the Midfield by Garasamo Maccagnone. St. John of the Midfield is a story within a story. One the one hand, the story is supposed to be about Bobo Stoikov, a defector from communist Bulgaria who comes to the States to play soccer, and find his own "American Dream". He is injured in his journey, and when he reaches America is unable to play soccer any more. He becomes a neighborhood team coach, showing young kids how to play soccer they way that made him great as a player in Bulgaria.

The story we get, but don't exepect is that of the story teller, Mario Santini. Mario is the father of one of the boys Bobo starts to teach. Bobo tells Mario's son Luca, that if he plays right, shares his victory and knows how to the work the field he can become like St. John. And be a "St. John of the Midfield". Bobo thinks Luca has a lot of promise and throughout both stories, we find how Mario gets swept up in the whole idea.

This novel is an engaging and entertaining read, even if it's not exactly what I was expecting when I started out. The description can be a little misleading, I thought I was getting a story about Bobo's journey, when in turn the story is more about Mario's journey than anyone elses. And that's not a bad thing, just not expected. There are places where Maccagnone's descriptions get the better of the story, especially when describing other team parents, and it took me out of the story just enough that I found myself rereading sections. But for the style, and length, it's all very fitting. Despite the descriptions, I still find myself enjoying the different characters that show up throughout, especially those of Mario's family - his Italian mafioso father (and uncles), haunted Polish mother and loving, but independent wife.

Not one of my normal type of choices, but I did enjoy it a great deal because it was such an engaging read. And I managed to finish it in about a day, which is pretty good for me lately. I've got three other books to write about, but I'll save them for later. :)


( 4 felicitations — Felicitate Me )
Feb. 21st, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
Nice review!
I've read this book too and I really enjoyed it. One of the nice things about it, is that you can read it quickly, though after I read it, I immediately wanted to read it again. My son played youth sports, so the politics involved in this book rang very true to me.

Thanks for being a great host on Gary's tour. And Gary, keep writing; you sure have the knack.

Feb. 21st, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
Off-topic, but you may want to have a look at this post: http://community.livejournal.com/wow_dota/1046936.html
Feb. 21st, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I saw it. I just haven't decided yet if I care that much. I haven't actually played any of my DotA girls in a long while.
Feb. 21st, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
I didn't think you did, but I just wanted to make sure :)
( 4 felicitations — Felicitate Me )