book cover of Choosing Up Sides

Choosing Up Sides

A novel by

From Publishers Weekly: Set during Prohibition, Ritter's debut novel features a rural Kentucky dialect and a sympathetic hero "stuck smack between two worlds." Luke Bledsoe's conflicts with his father, a volatile fundamentalist preacher, take on a new dimension when the seventh-grade southpaw discovers his pitching power. Classmates who have seen Luke accidentally throw with what his father calls "the Devil's arm" urge Luke to join the local baseball team, but Luke's left-handedness is not the only trouble: participation in sports is strictly forbidden by his church. The narrator is strongly tempted to side with "wild-as-a-witch-dog" Uncle Micah, another lefty, who encourages his nephew to follow his own natural course. Luke's movement toward independence is realistically cautious but frustratingly slow?until his father's accidental death brings a quick turn of events and tidy solution to problems. Criticisms of religious taboos and narrow-mindedness are hurled as forcefully as Luke's fastball. More artful, subtle expression may be found in the author's depiction of local color and metaphors mostly having to do with fishing and hunting. Despite its somewhat didactic tone, this story offers enough curve balls to keep readers engaged. Ages 10-14. Recipient of the 1999 International Reading Association's "Children's Book Award." Named an American Library Association "Best Book for Young Adults." Named a 1999 "Blue Ribbon Book" by The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.

Genre: Children's Fiction

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