Book review: Out of Left Field, by Ellen Klages

Klages, Ellen. Out of Left Field. Viking, 2018. 276 pages. $16.99. ISBN 9780425288597. Ages 12-16. P7Q8

In San Francisco, 1957, the story of the Gordon family (introduced in Klages’ The Green Glass Sea, and sequel, White Sands, Red Menace) continues with Katy Gordon.  Her older sisters, Suze and Dewey, are away at college, leaving the attic room and the Wall to their younger sister.  Katy’s passion is baseball, and, as the best pitcher in the neighborhood, she is recruited to play on a Little League team.  When the team manager discovers that Casey is actually Katy, he kicks her off the team.  Katy’s protest letter to Little League headquarters and their sexist response pushes her to find out whether women have actually played baseball.  Her research leads her from the library to interviews with women who played professional baseball.

Verdict:  A fascinating look at the United States in the late 1950’s with just enough mention of current events—Sputnik, the Cold War, McCarthy—to give a feel to the era.  Out of Left Field is unabashedly feminist and back matter includes Katy’s baseball cards with brief biographical entries of actual women baseball players. It points out that Little League did eventually allow girls to play, but only after Title IX, some 26 years after Katy’s story ended. Highly recommended for middle school, high school and public library collections.

June 2018 review by Jane Cothron.

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