Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace

When I created my @FortheLoveofLit Twitter account recently, I was browsing around looking for other book bloggers and authors to follow.  I came across an author named @Joe_Wallace, saw some Twitter chatter about his newest novel, and decided to check it out! It turned out to be cheaper for me to buy it as a used paperback from Amazon (plus free super saver shipping!) rather than buy it for my Kindle.

I’m not a baseball fan.  My fiancé is a HUGE baseball fan, but I just find it incredibly boring.  I go to baseball games to people watch rather than to actually watch the game.  Anyway, I digress.  From the reviews I read online, this book didn’t seem as much about a history of baseball as it was a story about a unique young girl in a man’s world.  The story starts out with Ruby as a young girl back in the 1920′s.  She attends a professional baseball game with her family and ends up catching a ball during the game.  She was in awe of the players and how they could throw the ball, so when she got home, she went to the park to give it a shot and realized she had an amazing throw.  Ruby had been teased as she was growing up because she had really long arms and they called her “Monkey girl”, but now she realized that her arms had a purpose.  Then a devastating influenza pandemic sweeps through New York City.  Unfortunately, Ruby loses both of her parents, one of her brothers, and her other brother’s wife to the disease and is left with her other brother, Nick, and Nick’s two daughters, Amanda and Allie.  Ruby takes over the role as the girls’ mother while Nick is out getting drunk and going through jobs like someone goes through socks.  Ruby takes a few jobs here and there in order to get by and feed her nieces, but it’s not enough.

With some effort and struggles, Ruby ends up taking a job on Coney Island with a “freak show” of sorts where she is called “Diamond Ruby” – they built a pitching area for her in one of the buildings where people could come and pay to pitch against her to try to beat her speed and accuracy (which is practically impossible).  She is a huge hit and even garners the attention of some of the Yankees players including Babe Ruth himself.  Since baseball is still a men’s only sport back then, she faced some harassment and threats from different people to try to get her to stop throwing.  When she is finally able to get away from that situation, she is asked to join one of the minor league baseball teams as their pitcher; the Brooklyn Typhoons and that whole entire league were struggling and they thought that adding Ruby to the roster would help make their league popular again.  Well, it worked!  Thousands of people would show up to watch Ruby play and after awhile, she did earn the respect of her fellow male teammates and the other teams.  When she is faced with some serious threats, she has to make some difficult decisions…. you’ll have to read the book to find out what they were.

This story was based upon the true story of a girl named Jackie Mitchell back in that same era who was signed to a baseball team in Tennessee and struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  After that, women were banned from playing baseball.  I really enjoyed the story and didn’t find the baseball theme boring at all because there were so many other things going on with Ruby’s life.  And of course, I liked the historical part of it.  It’s also one of those stories that makes you want to be all “Girl Power!” and stuff.  I think that men could enjoy this book too though, so guys, don’t get scared off by my last statement.

Joseph Wallace actually responded to be on Twitter when I tweeted that I had started reading his book.  I think it’s awesome when authors interact with their readers either through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, whatever.  He’s written a number of other books, including books about baseball history (see, now there’s something that my male readers can enjoy!).

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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