Nate Meyvis

Reading notes: My Losing Season

Here are two metrics for how much a book captures my imagination:

  1. How much do I think about it when I'm not reading it?
  2. How eagerly do I abandon other leisure activities for it?

My Losing Season gets high marks on both of those. I thought about it all day. I looked for reasons to read just one more chapter. I broke my NYT crossword consecutive-days streak to read more of it.

If there is such a thing as a nonfiction bildungsroman, this is a remarkably successful one. Relatedly, it is one of the best books about masculinity I've ever read (though it is never presented as such).

The last portion of the book, to my ear, simply doesn't belong in it. It is a fine essay about reuniting with team members and a coach; I would have read it happily. But the end of Conroy's season is so powerful that these extra reminiscences are, by contrast, flat and even self-indulgent. I do want to know what middle-aged Conroy thinks about Vietnam; I didn't want to read about it then, when I cared so much about the world of the 22-year-old Conroy. This is an easy top-100 book for me and probably would have been in the top 25 or 50 had it ended sooner.

Published 2023-03-20.