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Josh Wilker’s memoir uses his collection of baseball cards as a jumping
off point to examine his less than ideal childhood and it works
beautifully. When the family moves to Vermont in the mid 1970s for his
mom and her boyfriend to live “close to the land,” Josh and his older
brother collect baseball cards which provide an escape from the torment
of local kids and the increasingly hippie adults. This is an honest,
self-deprecating and funny tale of a young man’s formative years that
happens to include baseball. It’s not always the heroes that have the
most interesting stories.
— Sydne, Atlanta
The 1970s was a decade marked by Vietnam, Watergate, counterculture, sexual liberation, and stadium rock. For author Josh Wilker, it was a time spent navigating a challenging childhood in which only his prized baseball card collection could give him unfailing faith that a winning season would one day present itself.
Wilker shares his heartbreakingly comic childhood, set adrift by hippie parents harboring utopian dreams, anchored by brotherly love, and buoyed by an obsession with our national pastime. In pitch-perfect prose, Wilker tells his unconventional story through the cards he collected, whose full-color images—of Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, Tom Seaver, Wade Boggs, and many lesser-known players—open each chapter and become the means for expressing all the fears, hopes, bewilderment, passions, and dreams of childhood. Cardboard Gods announces the arrival of a talented new voice in the stadium of big-league memoirs.
About the Author
Josh Wilker writes about his life and his childhood baseball cards at www.cardboardgods.net. Since his first posting in 2006, his site has been featured in the New York Times and the Chicago Sun-Times and on ESPN.com. He is a winner of the Howard Frank Mosher Prize for Short Fiction and has an MFA from Vermont College. He lives with his wife in Chicago.
“Wilker connects baseball cards to more pop culture references than a season of Family Guy—everything from Louis L’Amour westerns to Jack Kerouac to Elvis Costello . . . You’ll love this book.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“I couldn’t put it down . . . In much the same way Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Wait Till Next Year is as much about growing up in the 1950s as her being a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Wilker, too, uses baseball as a backdrop in writing about the ’70s.” —The Boston Herald