DIAMOND RUBY by Joe Wallace

Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace (2010) Joe Wallace is part of a community of writers I follow on Twitter (@Joe_Wallace), and I doubt I would have noticed his book if I hadn’t been introduced to it there.  I’m so glad I was!  I love mysteries, and, these days, anything about New York City – and this is a terrific mystery set in NYC.  It’s also an unlikely baseball story, just as I am an unlikely baseball-story reader; I was a huge fan of the 1978 Yankees (for reasons I really can’t recall now), but otherwise I do not follow baseball at all.  This story, about a young woman with a mighty pitching arm trying to make her way in a man’s world has almost made me want to become a baseball fan again!  The character of Ruby is based on a real woman, Jackie Mitchell, who pitched for a short time in the early 1930’s for a minor league team – and struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game – before the commissioner banned women from the sport of the grounds that it was “too rigorous.”  Diamond Ruby takes place bit earlier, opening with the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19 and continuing through the years of prohibition. It is set in a gritty, violent, racist New York (one I recognized from my friend Matthew Goodman’s terrific narrative history, The Sun and the Moon; but I’m sure they’ve fixed all of that by now, right?).  Ruby’s story is a classic coming-of-age-against-difficult-odds story, but with the welcome twist that the tough-as-nails-but-tender-hearted protagonist is a girl.  The beginning of the novel is a harrowing tale of loss and survival; the middle a fairy-tale peopled by fun, lively historical figures such as Babe Ruth and Joe Dempsey; and the latter part a mystery/thriller in which our plucky heroine saves the day.  I gobbled this book up this summer and – flushed with the pleasure of a great read – I handed it off to my thirteen-year-old daughter.  She was quite dubious – she knows nothing about baseball, and mostly enjoys fiction of the now ubiquitous genre inspired by Harry Potter.  But she’s a good girl, and agreed to give it a try – and then promptly gobbled it up too!

Advertisements

About Marta Rose

I am a writer and a homemaker living in Philadelphia with my wife Julie and our children, Trixie and Micah.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to DIAMOND RUBY by Joe Wallace

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention DIAMOND RUBY by Joe Wallace | a woman again -- Topsy.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s