‘Playing Without the Ball’ is a fictional novel written by American author Rich Wallace. The book, released in the year 2000, covers many popular activities, celebrities, and sports at the time. Basketball, rock music, and girls was what Wallace chose to be the themes of the book.
Noting the structure of the book, one can see that it is split in 4 quarters, reflecting the 4 quarters in a basketball game. Wallace, using the ‘coming of age’ technique, also encompasses the main character’s development. From a naive, young and pure boy, to a mature, loving, and compassionate young adult, one can understand the author’s viewpoint on growing up: one must make mistakes in order to learn and become successful out of it.
The author manipulates the first-person writing style gracefully. Not only does he effectively portrays Jay’s, or the main character’s thoughts and feelings, but he also captures the core emotion of the other characters. By doing so, the reader can accurately identify the interaction between characters, and the effects of said communications.
Even if there are some non-ICS appropriate themes in there, such as premarital sex, drugs, and violence, Wallace does a wonderful job of incorporating these themes into the story as a whole – mixing basketball terminology, attractive girls, and punk music together, Wallace paints a wonderful picture; a picture that speaks to mind, a picture that converses a story, a picture that impacts the reader through the heart.
I would fully recommend this book to whoever likes an easy, engaging, and effortless book to read.