Friday, April 11, 2008

The Assist... Review is Here

So, I know I said to wait till Monday for the review, but I finished the book. Enjoy!

The Assist, by Neil Swidey, follows Charlestown High School basketball coach Jack O'Brien and his players through a three years of their lives. The book focuses on O'Brien, Jason White, or Hood, and Ridely Johnson, though it does follow a few other people. O'Brien is unlike any other coach around. He dedicates himself to the game and to his players. His goal, other than winning, is to help his kids of the streets of Boston, go to college and make a better life for themselves. Unfortunately, his intensity is often misinterpreted, and is disliked among the public. Jason, nicknamed Hood for his appearance, is one of the stars of the Charlestown team. A senior when the book starts, he is co-captain with Ridley. Ridley, known as the nicest kid in school, is extremely talented, but not aggressive enough on the court. The book portrays around three years of their lives, following all the twists and turns of life in the projects.

From scholarships to jail time, this book has it all, happy and sad, it shows how some people are determined to get off the streets, and others just sit around waiting for it to happen. I absolutely loved this book. It shows the terrible conditions these kids live in and how it is almost impossible to rise above it. The story was so powerful, and though I usually do not like non-fiction, it has become one of the best books I have read in a while. For those who don't like non-fiction, it is like no other non-fiction book you will ever read. While it is an extremely true story, the writing style that the author chose made it flow like a fictional story. Not to say it sounded fake, but it kept my attention and interest which many non-fiction books can’t do. I was so impressed by this book and I can only sing its praises.