Author: Susie Finkbeiner
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: July 11, 2023
It is 1952, and nearly all the girls Bertha Harding knows dream of getting married, keeping house, and raising children. 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. 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.
Reviewer: Emily Stephens
I have nothing but good things to say about The All-American by Susie Finkbeiner! First off, it's simply an excellent story. I wanted to see what happened next and kept telling myself, "Just one more chapter." Of course, I wasn't able to stop at "just one," not even once! I enjoyed reading about the characters, their family, and their life experiences.
Nobody writes characters like this author! Each major character felt very realistic, fleshed-out, and detailed, just like a real person. Even some who were only minor players in the story were given enough detail to be very distinctive. I honestly felt like I "knew" these people in real life by the novel's end!
I also enjoyed how the story was told through alternating chapters from the perspectives of the two sisters, Bertha and Flossie. I enjoyed seeing events through two very different sets of eyes and getting to know (and care about) each young woman even more as the chapters flew by.
Another thing I appreciated was the historical aspect. As a reader, I learned a lot about the McCarthy Era and what it was like for regular (often completely innocent) people. I also learned a bit more about women's baseball in the 40s and 50s. The author has a gift for weaving interesting facts into her story in a subtle way.
Overall, the message is a beautiful one about the meaning and importance of family and the value of following your dreams.
Definitely a 5-star read!
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Rebecca Maney
"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 an all-American family. Flossie and Bertha were as different as night and day. Flossie loved books, and Bertha loved baseball. When unfortunate rumors accused their father, a highly prominent author, of misguided political leanings, their lives were forced to pivot in a different direction. While their story included several 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.
The two sisters' perspectives flow seamlessly throughout this coming-of-age narrative, told in a captivating scene-change style, simultaneously delighting and distressing its readers. While I initially 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 Revell through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
I always enjoy a good Susie Fienkbeiner story, and this one was no exception. She never missed a beat between Flossie and Bertha. I found these two sisters delightful, and yes, I giggled at some of their antics. I loved how they could look at each other and start giggling even when they were not supposed to.
I did learn some about baseball and found it interesting. I thought Bertha did well. It wasn’t her fault, but I’m glad she was determined to get what she wanted. It always takes hard work and a lot of practice.
Here are two of my favorite quotes from the book. To me, they are hard lessons we need to experience for ourselves in order to “get” better.
“Get better and try again. Don’t give up.” If a person gives up, that means that Satan has won.
“This isn’t the end of your career. Just a bend in the road.”
I loved this sweet quote because it is such wonderful encouragement. To keep going. Don’t give up, no matter what!
I admired the way folks helped each other out back then. A lot of kind and compassionate people were portrayed in this book, offering this family hope and love. I wish people would still show that more often these days. Shy Uncle Matthew is my favorite character.
I finished this book in one evening. It was so very good! I give five stars for a well-written book. I can see why the author called it The All American. The title fits perfectly!
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Jeanette Durkin
Wow! This book blew me away! I loved the story and the characters! Bertha and Flossie are each great in their own ways. Bertha has a dream of playing baseball, and she pursues it. Flossie desperately wants a friend. An unexpected loss sends them reeling, but they rise up and achieve their dreams. I'll admit I shed some tears, but there was hope amidst the sadness. A definite must-read!
I was provided a copy of this book by Revell through Interviews and Reviews. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Conny Withay
“Both are about to discover how much good there is in the world–even in the hardest of circumstances,” the back jacket references the two sisters in Susie Finkbeiner’s novel, The All American.
This three-hundred-and-fifty-one-page advanced reader copy targets those interested in a coming-of-age tale set in America involving family dynamics surrounding baseball and communism. Using slang words such as darn and heck, the topics of bullying, alcohol use, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.
In this story set in the early 1950s in mainly Michigan, two siblings have opposite interests five years apart: Bertha is a tomboy who loves baseball, and Flossie is a bookworm who wishes she was all grown up. When their father is accused of being a communist, the family must flee to another town, only to learn how growing up has challenges, friendships, and heartbreak.
This thoughtful tale explains the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and the Red Menace and how both changed society. I always like stories written in the first person, while this one jumps back and forth between two sisters as they experience life. I appreciate the noted Bible verse, hymns, and famous novels of the period. The personalities of the two girls were well-described and believable.
Those who do not believe in God or pray to Him may pass this read up, although Jesus is only mentioned once. It was a slow build, but the ending redeemed itself. Some who do not like baseball or communism may not be interested in it.
While I liked the idea of writing every other chapter from each sister’s perspective, initially, it was hard to remember who was who. The Christian undertone seemed legalistic in some ways (i.e., going to church means you are a good person), never explaining the eternal plan of salvation. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence and no slang words were used.
If you like girls playing pro baseball with an underlying story about being accused of being a communist, this one is well-pitched and covers all the bases.
Thanks to Revell and Interviews & Reviews for this complimentary book. I am under no obligation to give a positive review.
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