three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
13-Nov-Dec-2004
user_rating: 
0

A-WaitingTeddyWilliamsEthan "E.A." Allen, 8, is a redheaded, fatherless Red Sox fanatic living on the wrong side of the tracks in Kingdom Common, Vermont. Home-schooled by his eccentric mother and grandmother, E.A.’s closest friend is the Colonel—a statue in the town square. As he grows older, his pressing desire to find his father takes a backseat to his passion for playing ball. Will E.A. be the player who can rid the doomed Red Sox of the Curse of the Bambino?
Houghton Mifflin. 280 pages. $24. ISBN: 0618197222

Chicago Sun-Times 4 of 5 Stars
"Mosher’s blend of quirky characters, contemporary mythology, and mischievous prose is utterly original and entertaining." Ron Franscell

Hartford Courant 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Along the way, he does a nice job of developing believable, quirky characters and throwing in just enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing. And his love for his native state and its physical beauty comes through in his descriptions of the Vermont countryside and wildlife." Steven Goode

Boston Globe 3.5 of 5 Stars
[Mark] Twain’s ghost, wreathed in cigar smoke, hangs over E. A.’s story—as it does over most fictional accounts of an American boyhood. … To my surprise and delight, while reading Waiting for Teddy Williams I was caught up in a particular kind of literary pleasure I hadn’t known in some 40 years." Brad Leithauser

Providence Journal 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Mosher creates wonderfully quirky, but definitely recognizable, characters. … The story is full of realistic tidbits about the current state of baseball." Kristin Latina

Rocky Mountain News 2.5 of 5 Stars
"The novel goes intermittently off course, leaving the most essential character feeling flat and incomplete. … Writing about genuine motives and courageous characters, Mosher delivers a healthy but occasionally lackluster American coming-of-age story." Amy Stoll

Washington Post 2.5 of 5 Stars
"The novel devolves into an unwieldy farrago that resembles a Southern gothic … awkwardly joined with Angels in the Outfield and Major League. Its story moves swiftly and has a certain sweetness, but the characters and plot are exasperatingly predictable, like a pitcher who telegraphs his curveball." Matt Schudel

Critical Summary

Do you have to be a baseball fan to enjoy Howard Mosher’s quirky tribute? Well, no. But it will help you appreciate all the knucklers and sliders. Overall, Mosher has written a lovely and timeless, if at times slight and predictable, sports fable. Several critics say it ranks with the very best in baseball literature. Plus, the oddball denizens of rural New England make wonderful background characters, even if critics disagree about the fullness of the major ones. "Like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer … Mosher’s novel becomes something of a fairy tale," writes The Boston Globe.