The Kid from Tomkinsville
As the newest of the Brooklyn Dodgers, a young farm boy from Connecticut named Roy Tucker becomes an amazing pitcher in the Major Leagues, but a freak accident ends his pitching career, forcing Tucker to find a new place on the team. John Tunis, the author, resembles the story of current MLB outfielder Rick Ankiel in this book. Ankiel was a star pitcher that turned to an outfielder, the same as Roy Tucker, The Kid, was. Although Ankiel's heart-warming comeback story took many years longer, the similarities are still there. They both had to face the hard fact that they just were not going to pitch in the Majors ever again.
Tunis expresses Tucker's emotions during his attempt at a comeback through his interactions with other characters. Each character has different emotions throughout the novel, having a large effect on the plot. Tunis displays the characters in many more ways than one. Each character is made to serve an exact purpose to the plot. Whether the role is big or small, Tunis makes sure every single character is present for a reason. The mood is the most important element in the book. Tunis constantly uses different moods to change the reader's entire view of the plot, until of course he switches the spirits of the plot in the other direction. He is very careful and precise about where he makes his switches, making sure that the reader has not gotten their hopes up too high or too low.
In The Kid from Tomkinsville, Tunis often uses a sportswriter, Mr. Casey, to communicate the Dodgers' season to the reader. The ups and downs of the season are used to help set a mood throughout the book. Tunis includes the style of sportswriting from that time period. He shows that not only were sportswriters very much the same as they are today, but the fact that they were dedicated to of their team.
Determination was a major theme in the book. Whether it was rebounding from an injury or going through the seemingly impossible position change, such as The Kid did, every character had to show determination. Tunis adds this determination differently for every character and creates some good spacing between them, always coming at the correct moment. Just when the reader may think all hope is lost, suddenly the character figures out a way to solve their predicament and becomes determined to follow through on their plan.
Tunis uses a very high tempo throughout the book. The only thing that seemed to go by slowly was the baseball games. He really gets the reader's attention, and The Kid's situation can really hit the heart of the reader, creating a sympathetic bond between them. One can almost feel the sadness of Roy Tucker when he realizes that his pitching career is over.
The Kid from Tomkinsville is a truly wonderful book for any audience. Tunis attracts readers in many ways. He uses different elements that make the book seem impossible to put down. The fact that it resembles the story of Rick Ankiel makes it that more interesting and relatable.