Sharon's Reviews > Painting the Black

Painting the Black by Carl Deuker
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Mar 24, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: ya, realistic-fiction, sports

An overlooked gem of the young adult world, this was once recommended to me by a professor in library school & I finally picked it up in a late reaction. Better late than never. I think everyone who knows me knows I am not a huge sports fan, and in fact know almost nothing about sports, but Carl Deuker's novel is more about moral issues and that weird, transformative last year of high school than it is about anything to do with sports.

What the professor said that made me want to read it is that it's about an athlete who is able to get away with some questionable moral behavior due to the athletic star system at his high school. But what I found most tragic in this story, and what I teared up at several times, was Ryan Ward, the ordinary boy who latched on to baseball superstar Josh Daniels, becomes the catcher to his pitcher, and continues to believe in his greatness even as he is let down & blown off by his hero again and again. I was also saddened by (and related to) Ryan's deflated sense of self-worth compared to Josh, and how finally, with the prodding of his parents and a science teacher, he began to have a little bit of self-confidence in his abilities. I don't think I've read another YA book that has explored this interesting friendship dynamic (popular and often excused high school athlete and his friend/sidekick) in such a powerful way, and I really admired it.
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