When the Men Were Gone
by Lewis, Marjorie Herrera






When most of the men in her community depart to serve in World War II, Tylene Wilson navigates opposition from the press, her neighbors, rivals, referees, and players to become Texas' first female high school coach.





In Brownwood, Texas, in 1944, most of the men are in the armed forces. That includes anyone who could coach the high-school football team. Assistant principal Tylene Wilson runs through a list of possibles but comes up empty; then it hits her: I'll do it myself. She knows the game as well as any man (she was diagramming plays in grade school). She convinces the skeptical principal and wins over the team captain and star player. She's the head coach. What she doesn't anticipate is the animosity of the Brownwood citizenry to a woman who dares step outside of her traditional role. Tylene's struggles, on and off the field, form the core of this satisfying historical novel based on a true story. There's plenty of football, but the book also offers a vivid look at small-town life during WWII, from dealing with rationing to the constant fear of hearing the worst about family members in the service. Appended is information on the real Tylene Wilson. The author's note also reveals that Lewis, inspired by Tylene, is now an assistant football coach. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.





In 1944, a Texas town gets its first female football coach. Brownwood, Texas, is a town that loves football. But with World War II raging and all the potential coaches off fighting, it's looking like the high school team may have to call it quits. That is, until Tylene Wilson steps up. She spent her childhood watching games with her father, and she's the closest thing to a football expert the town has. Brownwood has lost so many young men to the war, and Tylene knows that football has the power to bring the whole town together. She understands the game inside and out, but will the town—and the team—actually accept a woman as coach? Although she has the support of her husband, almost everyone else is in opposition. Men in town yell at her from car windows, friends desert her, and even the football players are wary of playing for a woman. Tylene knows she has to be a perfect coach if she wants anyone in town to respect her, but with limited time and limited support, the odds are against her. At just over 200 pages, the story feels thin in parts—many side characters who seem interesting are never quite fully developed. Tylene herself, though, is a complex and engaging character. Although she does love football, most of her desire to coach comes from the protectiveness she feels toward the high school seniors. If there's no football team, then most of them are likely to enlist early, and Tylene wants to save them from that fate. Based on a true story that most people probably don't know, readers will find plenty to love in Herrera Lewis' debut. A feel-good story about one woman's persistence, strength, and love of the game. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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