A Mile in His Shoes (2011)

Dean Cain,Jesse Hutch,Jarod Joseph
Perhaps the best way to describe this story is in the words of a true Mickey Tussler fan. If you like good baseball and a strong story populated with richly drawn characters, then you will love this book. I found it very compelling, brilliant and cutting edge. This is a historical novel, set in 1948 and takes readers through the bumpy evolution of the Milwaukee Brewers and teams of that day, such as the Boston Braves (before the Braves moved to Atlanta and Boston graced the American League with the Boston Red Sox).Frank Nappi knows baseball and his writing is diamond sharp and precise. The story of the baseball team is almost a metaphor for life itself - teamwork, pitching in, stepping up to the plate and going to bat for someone in need. Arthur Murphy, baseball manager and truly good person does all that when he accidentally stumbles upon Mickey Tussler.At 18, Mickey is severely autistic (the word "autism" was coined in 1943, just 5 years before this story takes place). He is marginally verbal; refers to himself in the 3rd person and recites poetry when overwhelmed. He is also incapable of deception and is especially devoted to his beloved pet pig, Oscar. Mickey's mother Molly, a clarinetist and poet is beaten down in a life of drudgery to a crass boorish oaf named Clarence. Molly's dad forces her to marry Clarence, which was unfortunate. A burly brute of a man, Clarence is illiterate; has no interest in things cultural and beats Molly and Mickey. He has no good words for his only child and has beaten him to the point where Mickey is almost afraid to venture forth.Luckily, hope arrives in the form of Arthur Murphy, ("Murph"), a man with a heart of gold. He sees Mickey pitching apples to his pig and sees a potential ball player, one who can toss the ol' apple around on the diamond instead of to a porcine audience on a farm. He convinces Molly to let the boy come with him and he installs him on the team. He wisely pairs him with a kind teammate named Pee Wee, who really takes Mickey under his wing.Baseball is a large part of this story, but Mickey's and Molly's evolution is an even bigger part of it. Nappi is a genius and quite skillful at working in more than one subplot and in keeping his readers' interest. Each of the main characters is given a turn at bat by presenting his or her own personal history, thus rounding out a very rich and full cast of characters.Mickey has his baptism in fire. He clearly does not fit in with his teammates and survives some rather cruel hazing. Despite his pitching prowess, he is still very much a babe in the woods. Nappi uses baseball as a vehicle to bring home the need to recognize and respect the autistic population and their place in society, or team if you will. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.The film "A Mile in His Shoes," based on this astounding novel, will certainly bring the amazing nature of Mickey and those who support him in his improbable endeavor to light.
  • 05 Sep 2011 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
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  • N/A Writer:
  • William Dear Director:
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