rev. of Winning the City by Theodore Weesner

Issue #53
Winter 1990-91

Winning the City
by Theodore Weesner. Summit Books. $17.95 cloth.

Winning the City is a fine novel, a crisply written story about a young boy's struggle to define himself. Dale Wheeler's position on the school basketball team is unjustly taken from him, and what Dale does in response gives the novel its drive and theme. Theodore Weesner's subject is the American perversion of play, the corruption of sport, the way we ruin boys by setting them against each other. The myths of the big win, the score, the need to be Number One not only in "the city" but in the family and in the world, have made the American male pathetic and dangerous. Weesner's close observation of an ordinary instance of such human narrowing becomes, in the art of his fiction, an exemplary affirmation of possibility. If we in Dale Wheeler long so acutely for justice and trust and, even, love, then they simply must be attainable, even for us men.      
James Carroll