THE FABULOUS FIFTY by Morton Grosser


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Two teen-agers win a newspaper contest and embark on the adventure of a lifetime in this wry, richly textured story. Philadelphia, 1921: The Clarion is offering an all-expenses-paid trip to the World Series' games to the 50 people who can clip the largest number of coupons from the paper; Tony, Sol, and the gang are determined to put one of their names on the list. After months of wheeling, dealing, and assiduously avoiding the Mafia, they collect 46,523 coupons--enough to send Tony and Sol to N.Y.C. It's a subway series; the lads tour Manhattan, watch Frankie Frisch and the Giants battle Babe Ruth and the Yankees, and win a small fortune in side bets too. They return home covered in glory, bearing gifts for all. The author delivers a blow-by-blow account of each game, but what really animates the book is his careful, colorful re-creation of the scene along Philadelphia's South Street: vivid details of dress and behavior; the sharp ethnic and class distinctions; the customs and expectations in Sol's close, traditional Greek family; changing attitudes and inter-generational clashes. Occasionally Grosser rides roughshod over modern sensibilities (Sol describes his club as ""wop soup: one dago, one greaseball, one mick, one polack, and one kike""), but he tells an exciting story and brings a bygone era to vigorous life.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1990
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Atheneum