"Cardboard Gods: An All American Tale Told Through Baseball Cards"
by Josh Wilker
Seven Footer Press, March 2010
I can tell a work has touched me when I am sad when it is over, that, in the words of a former work colleague, I will never get the chance to read it for the first time again. I can tell a work has really touched me when not only do I want it to continue, I want to be the creator-I'm so jealous of the author that I wish most of all to have that person's gift.
Both of these thoughts are filling my brain after finishing Wilker's "Cardboard Gods". Wilker, who blogs here, has collected pieces from his blog, expanded and revised and rewritten, into a gorgeous memoir of his confused boyhood in the 1970s. Each entry is centered on a particular baseball card, which is lovingly reproduced on the page, and some element of the card-the player's expression, or batting stance, or reputation, or the coloring of his background-leads Wilker into a fractured account of his life.
Wilker has a strong, clear voice, and while this may be the fact that he is nearly my age, and as besotted by baseball and its history and its numbers as I am, I utterly loved this book, even if I had encountered parts of it on his blog before. This is a simply gorgeous book, lovely and perfect and simple. You don't have to love baseball to enjoy it or understand it, but if you do, it will enhance your enjoyment.
Very, very, very highly recommended.