A review by melissasbookshelf
The All-American by Susie Finkbeiner


The All-American was pure pull on your heartstrings enjoyment! It’s my first novel by Susie Finkbeiner and won’t be my last. She completely drew me into 1950’s Michigan when baseball was king and the Red Scare was at its height. Through the delightful narration of the two young Harding sisters, we experience their highs and lows in this heartfelt coming of age story.

Sixteen year old Bertha Harding’s classmates all dream of dating and marrying, but Bertha loves baseball. She plays with the boys and writes to a famous pitcher for the Sweet Peas, part of the All-American Girls Softball League. When her friend Leo begins to take an interest in her, she begins to awaken to the idea of first love.

Flossie’s eleven years old going on twelve, a bit small for her age, and a complete bookworm. As she struggles to find friends who appreciate her intelligence and wit, she finds comfort in her family and books. When her famous writer father is accused by a neighbor of being part of the Communist Party during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings, the whole family’s world is turned upside down.

Facing threats, ostracism, and financial ruin, the family moves to the small town of Bear Run and stays with shy, Uncle Matthew. It’s the opportunity for second chances, new friends, and a tryout for the Sweet Peas softball team. But, when tragedy strikes, will their dreams survive?

I absolutely adored Bertha and Flossie! Their POV’s were so fun to read. I highly recommend the audiobook because the narrators do a fantastic job bringing both of these girls to life. The Harding sisters and their family are so charming from their proper English mother to the creative, fun-loving father, and caring older brother Chip. I loved getting to know them all including the quiet Uncle Matthew. Also loved Bertha’s loyal friend Leo.

Bertha shares her nostalgic view of 1950’s American baseball complete with CrackerJacks, Coca-Cola, and hotdogs. Flo shares her love of classic literature including Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and even the Catcher in the Rye. I loved her take on Shakespeare.

It’s a fantastic juxtaposition of what it is to be quintessentially American with the Salem Witch Trial-like atmosphere of the Red Scare. The ending was at once tragic and hopeful. I loved the inspirational messages of faith subtly woven throughout the story. Definitely recommend to historical and Christian fiction fans. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are completely my own and voluntarily given.