Cardboard Gods is the memoir of Josh Wilker, a brilliant writer who has marked the stages of his life through the baseball cards he collected as a child. While it is rooted in a life obsessed with baseball, Cardboard Gods is much more than just a baseball book; it’s a touching family saga that perfectly captures an era, the late 1970s. Like Nick Hornby or Chuck Klosterman, Wilker finds something very large in the seemingly small.
Josh expertly shares his classic observations about his central artifacts, the baseball cards, while setting up the poignant tales of his youth. He uses the magical bubble-blowing powers of journeyman Kurt Bevacqua to shed light on the weakening of the powerful childhood bond with his older brother; he considers the doomed utopian back-to-the-land dreams of his hippie parents against the backdrop of inimitable 1970s baseball figures such as “Designated Pinch Runner” Herb Washington and Mark “The Bird” Fidrych; he writes about an imagined correspondence with his favorite player, Carl Yastrzemski. Cardboard Gods is both the perfect book for baseball fans and a great read for anyone compelled by the question, “What if what’s gone can return?”
“Josh Wilker’s Cardboard Gods is a poignant and vivid account of how and why he accessed baseball cards as a survival tool while negotiating a 1970s childhood marked by changing mores and confusing mixed messages. This is a story of brotherly love, survival of the also-ran, and the hope that quickens a kid’s heartbeat each time he rips open a fresh pack of baseball cards, gets a whiff of bubble gum, and, holding his breath, sees who he’s got as opposed to who and what he needs. If you love the writing of Dave Eggers or Augusten Burroughs, you just may love Josh Wilker’s Cardboard Gods, too. I did.”
–Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of She’s Come Undone and The Hour I First Believed
“Josh Wilker writes as beautifully about baseball and life as anyone ever has.”
–Rob Neyer, ESPN
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