Framily (friends considered family)

Lou Saulino

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 285 Price: (paperback) $16.99 ISBN: 9781499039467 Reviewed: January, 2015 Author Website: Visit »

The final installment of author Lou Saulino’s trilogy – following “8” Center Field in New York, 1951-57 and Dopey Bastid – has, like its predecessors, sports at its core.

Spanning 1979-87, the story follows three childhood friends — sportswriter Joe Kowalski, engineer Lou Marciano and baseball coach Bob Murphy — as they move into their late 30s and 40s. The characters in the book are fictional; the sporting events at the narrative’s heart are fact.

Sports bonds the three — and by association, their wives — into a tight-knit group, a “framily.” They watch sporting events on TV together, attend games and endlessly discuss teams and players. Saulino paints a picture of family, though not a completely focused one.

The narrative presents some issues. Dialogue occasionally sounds as if it were written to advance the narrative or explain a point and can seem stilted. For example, of basketball star Patrick Ewing, one character says, “I’m glad he is going to be on our team now. I know that Little Louie feels that he will be dynamic in the pros at both ends of the court.”

Saulino sometimes switches tense awkwardly (“Grace, perhaps only half-jokingly, glanced at Bob and has a request”). His characters discuss “bucket lists,” although the term wasn’t coined until the early 2000s, well after the conversation took place. And for a book so heavily dependent on sports, there are a number of factual/editing errors. Indiana State University’s nickname is the Sycamores, not the Seminoles; Montreal’s hockey team is the Canadiens, not the Canadians; and the first name of a former New York basketball star is Micheal (Ray Richardson), not Michael.

Revisiting various sports events and athletes of the era —when was the last time anyone thought of Joe Pepitone? — should appeal to fans of a certain age. But Framily could have been stronger had Saulino given more depth to his characters and addressed the issues mentioned.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Farmingville, New York
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