Last Pick is a charming read that feels a lot like spending the tail end of Thanksgiving listening to your favorite great-uncle reminisce about the simpler days of his bygone youth while he sips a snifter of brandy in front of the fire.
Pierce O’Donnell experienced a childhood very few of us in the United States can really wrap our heads around these days. Born in a sleepy little village in Upstate New York to Irish-American Catholic parents right after World War Two, Pierce recounts some of the quirks of living with his postmaster aunt, librarian mother, liquor store-owning father, three younger sisters, and the family ghost (yes, really).
All this is going on while he is trying to accomplish the most important goals for a boy his age: earning the Eagle Scout title, avoiding frostbite while making some pocket money delivering papers in the dead of winter, and figuring out how to get picked for neighborhood pickup baseball games over a precocious younger sister. It is all related against the backdrop of a much older Pierce’s understanding of the familial, political, and social events occurring as background scenes against the main stage of his childhood.
As a Millennial, I’m not entirely sure I was the target audience for this one and it’s definitely not my usual genre, but I found myself thoroughly enjoying not only the content of this little biography but also the lighthearted humor the author delivers with his storytelling style. The author never takes himself too seriously, and with a dry self-deprecating sense of humor and matter-of-fact style of prose, O’Donnell describes both the tenderness of family life and the puzzling persistence of schoolyard teasing with the same entertaining aplomb.
This, coupled with the fact that O’Donnell isn’t trying to convince us that the good ol’ days are something we need to collectively get back to in the here and now, but rather something that was a reality for many in his generation and that can be reminisced over in the present light of day without pretension or pretense, makes for a very self-aware and lighthearted read.
My only complaint is that in a few instances, characters or story points that were already described or discussed were reiterated like it was the first time they were mentioned, and the author jumps between his childhood and teen years for the sake of an idea he’s exploring in a way that makes you think you might have skipped a chapter. Still, it is all around a very enjoyable read!
|Page Count||224 pages|
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|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|