This book was part of a homework assignment. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have ever read it. Firstly, I’m not a big fan of sports, so why would I read about it? When I grabbed this book off the shelf and looked at the cover, it didn’t look very fun. “This is only for homework,” I thought, trying to be patient. It was a pretty thick book. However, now, when I think back, I pat myself on the back for reading it.
House of Sports by Marisabina Russo overwhelmed me entirely in a way no other book ever did. The beginning of the book didn’t really grab me. It was about basketball, grandmothers, and family relationships. This wasn’t my safe zone. House of Sports was only the second book I read that was sports fiction. Still, this was a homework assignment. I had to read it. Therefore, trying to keep my eyelids up, I read on. Around the fifth chapter, where the grandmother with the weak heart was introduced, I started getting interested. The main character was Jim Malone and his weak, 82 year old grandmother. Jim loves playing basketball, but not studying. He was a sports kind of guy. On the other hand, his brother, Pete Malone, gets straight A’s all the time. Nana, from France, calls the Malone house ‘House of Sports’. Nana was a champion swimmer until the war had begun. However, because she was Jewish, she was banned from all swimming pools. The World War 2 killed both her parents and her family except for her sister. So, with her sister, she ran to America and had Jim’s mother. Nana loves watching Jim run down the court furiously with a basketball in front of him, dribbling madly. However, one day, after Nana shows Jim an opera and her secret laptop, the House of Sports gets a phone call from the hospital about Jim’s Nana.
“Is this the Malone house?” The nurse on the phone asked coldly.
“Yes,” Jim’s mother said nervously, recognizing Nana’s nurse’s voice.
“Your mother has had a stroke a few minutes ago, and she is in the hospital right now. If you wou--”
Jim’s mom dropped the phone. It crashed loudly on the bare kitchen floor, and the cord broke off. When she turned to tell Jim the news, her face was pale and hot tears were starting to form in her eyes. Jim, his mom, dad, and older brother, Pete, all rushed out into the car and drove off to the hospital.
Nana was lying down on a cot in the hospital, her face even paler than moms’, her skin all wrinkly. It just got worse from then. Nana moved into a home for “old people”, as Jim called it. The hospital couldn’t help her. She was too old and too weak for surgery.
One sunny day, minutes before Nana passed away, the member of the House of Sports sat around her. All they did was shed tears on her white wrinkly skin. Just then, Jim burst out, “We can’t do this. You have to let her go. If the people she loves doesn’t let her go, she’s nowhere, not in the sky, not on the land, just hovering.”
“Jim’s right.” Mom agreed.
“Hearing is the last sense to go. We should whisper what we want to say in her ear.”
Everyone did. Nana sat up from her bed, took three short deep breaths, and fell back, all the breath gone out of her.
The ending made me appreciate my grandparents so much. This book almost made me cry. I suggest this book if you need a good cry or a warm feeling in your heart.