WHEN THE MEN WERE GONE by Marjorie  Herrera Lewis


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In 1944, a Texas town gets its first female football coach.

Brownwood, Texas, is a town that loves football. But with World War II raging and all the potential coaches off fighting, it’s looking like the high school team may have to call it quits. That is, until Tylene Wilson steps up. She spent her childhood watching games with her father, and she’s the closest thing to a football expert the town has. Brownwood has lost so many young men to the war, and Tylene knows that football has the power to bring the whole town together. She understands the game inside and out, but will the town—and the team—actually accept a woman as coach? Although she has the support of her husband, almost everyone else is in opposition. Men in town yell at her from car windows, friends desert her, and even the football players are wary of playing for a woman. Tylene knows she has to be a perfect coach if she wants anyone in town to respect her, but with limited time and limited support, the odds are against her. At just over 200 pages, the story feels thin in parts—many side characters who seem interesting are never quite fully developed. Tylene herself, though, is a complex and engaging character. Although she does love football, most of her desire to coach comes from the protectiveness she feels toward the high school seniors. If there’s no football team, then most of them are likely to enlist early, and Tylene wants to save them from that fate. Based on a true story that most people probably don’t know, readers will find plenty to love in Herrera Lewis’ debut.

A feel-good story about one woman’s persistence, strength, and love of the game.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-283605-2
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2018


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