Monday, June 11, 2018
LAST MAN OUT- Mike Lupica
LAST MAN OUT is the story of Tommy Gallagher, a middle school strong safety on the Brighton Bears football team (Side note: As the mom of two former football players, I loved that this book was about a defensive player, many of the football books I have read feature offensive players- quarterbacks, running backs, an occasional wide receiver). In the first chapter, Tommy is playing in a football game when his family is notified that his firefighter father has been killed in the line of duty. Each member of the family copes in different ways- Tommy still loves football but struggles because his dad is no longer there to practice and coach and advise, so he turns to skateboarding to fill the hole in his heart and life. (I kept thinking about the list of do's and don'ts I always got at the beginning of each sports season. Pretty sure my boys would not have been allowed to skateboard because of the potential for injury, but maybe that's not true on every team). Tommy's younger sister, Em, a star soccer player, quits her team and spends hours and hours alone in her room.
I think this is one of those books teachers need to have in their repertoire because some day some kid who has lost a parent will need it. A solid story about grief and integrity and learning to move forward when life has changed and it's really, really hard.