IN THESE GIRLS HOPE IS A MUSCLE by Madeleine Blais

IN THESE GIRLS HOPE IS A MUSCLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A close-up look at the championship season of a girls' high school basketball team that only the team's members and their families will find compelling. Adolescence is inherently hyperbolic, sportswriting is sometimes not far behind, and Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Blais (The Heart Is an Instrument, 1992) nearly outdistances both as she applies the celebrity biography touch to a subject that is diminished by being so inflated. This is unfortunate, because the Lady Hurricanes of Amherst, Mass., seem a likeable lot who worked hard to capture the 199293 state championship. Co-captains Jamila Wideman (who received several honors, including selection by USA Today as a ``first team all-American'') and Jen Pariseau (who also earned the attention of college sports recruiters) are particularly noteworthy, and each girl makes her own contribution. When Blais discusses actual games, she captures some of the excitement these players must have felt, but she is more interested in the girls as people--even when she cannot make them interesting. Many potentially illuminating anecdotes are related in only a gossipy manner: Jamila starting life in a hospital preemie ward, Sophie King nearly losing a leg to gangrene, and Jen offering her version of ``life's little instructions.'' We hear about not only Coach Ron Moyer but also about his mother. Settling for adoration without insight, Blais asks no questions about the impact of these experiences on the girls' development or their futures; she doesn't ask whether the goal of girls' teams should be to imitate boys' teams, with their unquestioning emphasis on winning, whatever the cost; in short, she ignores the issues that could have made this more than an inflated version of the New York Times Magazine article on which it is based. There might be an insightful book to be written on the subject of girls' basketball, but this isn't it. (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-87113-572-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1994




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