We Ride Upon Sticks

This uniquely original book by Quan Barry asks you: How far will you go for your team? In the case of the Danvers Falcons, they’ll go as far as deals with Emilio Esteves… uh I mean the Devil.

This book is funny both outright and subtle, having me chuckle to full out guffaw. Each chapter is an in depth look at one of the ladies or guy on the Danvers Field Hockey Team where you learn about their lives and what lead to their decision to sign their life over and what has happened because of that. Some are filled with toxic families, sad stories while others are filled with hilarious hijinks and uplifting messages. In the end though, they all focus back to the field hockey team and their journey to state.

I did find this story a bit long, and at the beginning was definitely thinking to myself, “Is this worth it?” But I’m so glad I stuck with it because, in the end, I do think it was worth it. This is very raunchy humor and definitely doesn’t hold back. There’s commentary on race, sex, sexuality, feminism, and even through breaking the fourth wall, it talks to the reader about the differences between 1989 (when this book takes place) and now. So while I might not have loved every second, I did think the overall experience was a good one and I would recommend this book to people. There is a big witchy element too if that’s something you’re into. Think more tarot and less wand waving.

Technically this is historical fiction in that it takes place thirty years ago (and the entire story is just before I even come onto this earth), but it reads much like a contemporary and also I’m not even really sure where we draw the line for historical fiction because thirty years doesn’t seem long enough but WW2 novels published in the 80s were definitely historical fiction and that was only forty years prior…. Just something to think about I guess. All that is to say is that I don’t think it should hold you back from reading it if you don’t like historical fiction.

There is queer representation in this book, one main character is gay (there are a few prominent side characters as well) and another is trans although that does not become apparent until the end of the novel, but it is not a plot twist which is good. There is a bit of bullying so keep that in mind when reading if it something that upsets you, it is mostly verbal. The characters are diverse as well, no all white cast in this book, which makes sense since it’s written by a black author. Funny how that works.

I want to say that I read most of the books that I reviewed this month in April and May and that I wasn’t being deliberate about reading from black authors within my desire to read diversely. While I do read from authors who are Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and Black, I don’t make a habit of tracking it or Really focusing on it. I’m going to be more deliberate about including black voices into my reading on a regular basis and I hope that it is reflected here. I also hope that you will rise to the challenge with me about being more aware of the choices we make and the voices we choose to hear from.

Published by keelinrita

A Chicago girl with a lot of feelings about fictional people.

One thought on “We Ride Upon Sticks

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