Wednesday, July 26, 2023

THE ALL AMERICAN by Susie Finkbeiner, Reviewed by Rebecca and Winnie

"And no matter how many times they mowed those daisies down, they always came back, star-shine in a sea of green. "

"When I was seven years old, I told my parents that what I wanted to do when I grew up was to play baseball for the Workington Sweet Peas. Dad - one prone to audacious dreams - had been thrilled. Mom had been less excited."

Two sisters; growing up in what they imagined to be the all-American family. Flossie and Bertha were as different as night and day; Flossie loved books, Bertha loved baseball. When unfortunate rumors accusing their father, a highly prominent author, of misguided political leanings, their lives were forced to pivot in a totally different direction. While their story ended up including a number of unexpected chapters, the outcome also held many unexpected blessings . . . except for one. It seems that the best stories don't always end with "happily-ever-after", if they end at all.

Told in a captivating scene-change style, the two sisters' perspectives flow seamlessly throughout this coming of age narrative, managing to simultaneously delight and distress its readers. While I originally supposed this story was primarily about one sister, it may have been about the other . . . which did not dawn on me until the very end.

*I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 3.5 stars
I love how Susie Finkbeiner can take a little slice of history and totally immerse the reader in that time period so they feel they’re living in it. I know Finkbeiner isn’t old enough to have been alive in the 1950s, but she captures the feeling of it perfectly. I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, so it was a little nostalgic for me.

The characters are perfect—well-written, engaging, and endearing. I immediately felt drawn to them, although, unlike Bertha, I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. My favorite character was Flossie. I loved her sass and humor and her outlook on life. She fit the “youngest child” depiction perfectly.

I enjoyed Finkbeiner’s fun sense of humor, which lightened up some of the rather serious subject matter. I recommend this book to those who enjoy fantastic historical fiction.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Revell through LibraryThing. All opinions are my own. 
BackCover Blurb:
Two sisters discover how much good there is in the world--even in the hardest of circumstances

It is 1952, and nearly all the girls 16-year-old Bertha Harding knows dream of getting married, keeping house, and raising children in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Bertha dreams of baseball. She reads every story in the sports section, she plays ball with the neighborhood boys--she even writes letters to the pitcher for the Workington Sweet Peas, part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

When Bertha's father is accused of being part of the Communist Party by the House Un-American Activities Committee, life comes crashing down on them. Disgraced and shunned, the Hardings move to a small town to start over where the only one who knows them is shy Uncle Matthew. But dreams are hard to kill, and when Bertha gets a chance to try out for the Workington Sweet Peas, she packs her bags for an adventure she'll never forget.

Join award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner for a summer of chasing down your dreams and discovering the place you truly belong.
Revell Publishing, July, 2023
Available in digital ebook, hardcover, and audiobook:

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