HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: A Ticket for a Seamstitch
Author: Mark Harris
Cover Illustrator: Jack E. Davis
Publisher: Bison Paperback Books, republished 1985
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 16 and up
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Historical fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Harris, Mark. A Ticket for a Seamstitch (Published in 1956 by University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE; republished in 1984 by Bison Books). It is 1956, and Henry Wiggen, called “Author,” by his teammates, is a six-foot three-inch, 195-pound, left-handed pitcher for the New York Mammoths. A seamstress from “somewhere out West” writes to Henry, her hero, that she plans to travel across the country and be in New York to watch the Mammoths play on the Fourth of July. Both the married Henry, with one child and another on the way, and his roommate and pal, the very unmarried young catcher Thurston “Piney” Woods, are at a loss as to what to think. How does she look? Will she even make it? And if and when she dies arrive in New York, what can the two ball players do with their visitor?
Baseball fans may enjoy the book more than others. In the essay “Easy Does It Not” Mark Harris describes the origins of this wonderfully comic novel. Some bad language occurs, including cursing (both the “h” and “d” words, the latter even in the form of “g*dd*m”), profanity (“Lord” and “For God’s sake” as exclamations), and near vulgarity (“s.o.b.”). Piney has pictures of naked girls on the wall of their room, and there are instances of smoking a pipe. This is the third of four novels narrated by Henry, who began as a rookie in The Southpaw, developed into a pro in Bang the Drum Slowly, and is a mature veteran in A Ticket for a Seamstitch. In the sequel, It Looked Like for Ever, Henry returns to narrate another novel in his inimitable manner.