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Review: Julianna Baggott's 'Prince of Fenway Park' revises story of Red Sox curse

It may not give you goose bumps, but The Prince of Fenway Park has many eerie creatures: a Banshee, a Pooka and even a Green Monster. Julianna Baggott, a.k.a. N.E. Bode, hits a home run with her newest book about the Boston Red Sox curse.

The Prince of Fenway Park revolves around Oscar, an adopted, biracial, die-hard Red Sox fan. Oscar's parents are divorced, and his mother sends him to live with his father while she searches for a new "match."

Oscar's dad isn't pleased about this and is forced to reveal to Oscar his family secret: He is involved in the legendary Boston Red Sox curse. Oscar learns that his father is a supernatural being, whose grandfather cursed the Red Sox for trading away Babe Ruth. The 86-year curse prevents the Sox from winning a World Series although "close enough to taste the win." Oscar, too, feels cursed, as he's constantly taunted by classmates and feels unaccepted. He must remove the curse in time for the Red Sox to win the World Series, knowing failure will seal the curse permanently.

An integral part of the curse deals with the team's past resistance to signing ethnic players. The "N-word," used three times, is politically incorrect now but was tolerated in the past. Baggott explains in the author's note on the final page why she used the word and her resistance to whitewashing history.

Worry not if you aren't a baseball fan; Baggott is your personal announcer providing and explaining baseball history, plays, phrases and details. The Prince of Fenway Park was an easy read, and I felt Baggott's style of writing was different from her alter ego N.E. Bode's. I was expecting Bode's whimsical mood but found Baggott's supernatural tale suspenseful and enjoyable. Don't let the book's baseball aspects prevent you from reading it; it's a grand slam for any reader.

William Harvey will be in the eighth grade at Liberty Middle School in Tampa.

The Prince of Fenway Park

By Julianna Baggott; for ages 9-12

HarperCollins, 322 pages, $16.99

Review: Julianna Baggott's 'Prince of Fenway Park' revises story of Red Sox curse 07/10/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 10, 2009 1:47pm]
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