Review: Coop by Jack Teeter

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

'Coop' by Jack Teeter

Coop by Jack Teeter

Swimming Kangaroo Books 2007

Ebook, 170 pages

ISBN: 9781934041574


Jack Teeter's Coop is the story of a blackballed baseball coach making a comeback seventeen years after a car crash robbed him of his voice--and his livelihood. Matt "Coop" Cooper, a staunch supporter of desegregation at his Georgia high school, was harassed by the Ku Klux Klan after replacing a white player with a black one on the school baseball team.

When the story begins, former maths teacher Coop is stacking pallets. His grandson, who's on a school visit, comes to find him, and is astonished to discover Coop can speak. He recovered his voice unexpectedly, and hadn't told anyone, but chatting to the boy is impossible to resist. Their conversation sets Coop on the road to recovery, opening up the opportunity to be reconciled with his daughter and her draft-dodger husband, and to coach baseball again.

The story starts solidly, with some excellent writing, and it's thoughtful and engaging. Unfortunately, the narrative can't keep this up. The detailed descriptions of baseball practice are off-putting to someone unfamiliar with the game, but the story takes its worst downhill turn when it drops first person narration and changes to third. There are detailed descriptions of events and conversations Coop didn't witness--and they're not even that germane to the story. It's hard not to feel that a better way of telling this story couldn't have been found.

As the story continues, it begins to feel as if Coop's fate has been taken out of his hands--actions initiated by others are driving the story, not him. It's a shame, as Teeter has amply demonstrated that he can write, and write well enough to draw a non-baseball fan into a shamelessly baseball-oriented story. Coop's voice in the narrative is strong, and brings him to life immediately. It's the plotting that lets this down.

That said, if you have an interest in baseball, or in the story of a right-minded man standing up against injustice, this story is well written enough to be enjoyed.

- reddit, digg, facebook, stumbleupon, etc... please! ;)
posted by Debbie

13 comments; 5 subscribers

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 / 03:53:43
To win the review copy of Coop, tell us in comments what sport you'd most--or least--like to see featured in a novel.

Contest open to everyone in the world (it's an ebook after all!) and closes 13th May (midnight pacific time).
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 / 05:27:57
No takers?

Aww, poor little ebook!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 / 18:00:32

'Aww, poor little ebook!'

What a cheap shot! After you slam my book you pat yourself on the back for making sure I don't get any sales. Must be great being you…

As for your slam—

I'll stand by 'Coop'.

The transition to third person narration was deliberate to differentiate the necessary change to POV to provide important background information. Note that the story unfolds in two different time frames, hence the date references.

As to others driving the story… you missed the point! A major theme is that holding in, not allowing others into one's life, is detrimental.


Jack Teeter
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 / 18:22:01
Mr Teeter,

I think you wildly overestimate my influence on the ebook market.
Thursday, July 31, 2008 / 01:38:30
That's hardly a 'slam' Mr. Teeter. That's a balanced and valid review.

It is considered bad manners for an author to react this way to a review in public.
Thursday, July 31, 2008 / 08:38:15
GUD's review pages are widely considered the Simon Cowell of the industry (using negativity just to show off) someone needs to occasionally stand up and say 'this is just stupid'.

Debbie, your review of Coop was just stupid.

Thursday, July 31, 2008 / 09:17:03
Mr Teeter

I'm sorry you feel that way.
Thursday, July 31, 2008 / 09:48:43
Mr. Teeter, you are very out of line. I must congratulate you on joining the ranks of the Legion of Nitwits.

Your reaction is just stupid. Okay?

I seriously doubt that GUD's reviews are considered that, Mr. Teeter, unless you have a covey of sychophants following you around.

No professional author worth their salt goes to a magazine's site and acts like you have. You, sir, are an imbecile. You are not helping your sales by acting this way.

There are equal parts good and bad in this review. That makes it balanced.
Thursday, July 31, 2008 / 10:17:11
If only someone besides me (and my covey of sycophants) actually READ Debbie's review, maybe sales would pick up.

They say any publicity is good. I hope to be able to keep jawing with y'all long enough for someone to visit my website and buy a book. We imbeciles don't sell many books.

On a little higher plane... I'll readily admit that Debbie's review was quite complimentary. It was her 'poor little ebook' comment that set me off.

I can't think of any additional comments worthy of new name calling from your end but you're welcome to use your thesaurus and see what else you can come up with.

By the way, if Debbie wants to review any of my other books I'll be glad to send her a copy or she can visit my website. 'Billy The Kid' is free--I know reviewers like free.

Bye for now,
Jack Teeter
Thursday, July 31, 2008 / 12:29:21
I apologise for the "poor little ebook" comment. It wasn't intended maliciously.
Thursday, July 31, 2008 / 12:43:15
Apology accepted.
Jack Teeter
Thursday, July 31, 2008 / 21:33:34
Hmph. Well Debbie, I heartily enjoy the GUD reviews and I consider GUD a place I can go for a truthful opinion and not just a bunch of smoke blown up a writers' rear. I read most of the reviews and look forward to sending my book in and getting a trustworthy review.
Friday, August 1, 2008 / 00:21:44
Mr. Teeter, if you had said that to begin with, I would not have felt driven to insult you.

You have gone way up in my estimation.

Rock on.

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