For The Someday Book

Book Review: Fenway Fever

Posted on: October 25, 2012

Fenway Fever by John H. Ritter, Philomel Books, 2012, 230 pp.

A church member who is a local school librarian, well acquainted with my passion for the Red Sox, told me I simply had to read this book. She even got it reserved for me at the local library before it went into circulation. She was right—this book was a charmer.

Fenway Fever tells the story of Alfredo (“Freddy” or “Stats”) Pagano, a young boy with a sick heart and a passion for baseball. His father runs a hot dog stand in Fenway Park, where Freddy and his brother Mark help out. The Paganos also own season tickets that have been in the family for two generations, but their father has not attended a game since his wife and the boys’ mother died a few years earlier. Through the hot dog stand, Stats (so known because he keeps score and runs numbers, since his weak heart keeps him from playing ball) has befriended Billee “Spacebird” Orbitt, a sophomore star pitcher with a reputation for being eccentric.

When the Red Sox begin to suffer from a disproportionate number of BLRs (bad luck runs, caused by flukes), Billee and Stats believe the curse has returned. With a combination of youthful earnestness, crazy-but-true belief in spiritual forces, and a magical midnight escapade into Fenway Park, Billee and Stats work to put Fenway back in balance and stop the slide into more disastrous games and seasons.

The story is charming whether or not you are a member of Red Sox Nation, although the references to famous Sox moments and miracles will give special joy to those who know them. Billee Orbitt is an updated, imaginative version of Bill “Spaceman” Lee. Stats Pagano and his family make you want to like them, and for everything to turn out alright—not just for the Sox, but for them. The ending made me smile through tears. What a delight!

I’m going to get it for Christmas for the biggest Red Sox fan in my life, my dad (who doesn’t read the blog, so I’m not revealing secrets here). You should too. You’ll find it in the Young Adults section.

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1 Response to "Book Review: Fenway Fever"

My ex father in law and Bill Lee were buddies.

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About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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