When the Men Were Gone: A Novel

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Tylene Wilson grew up loving football. From the opening coin flip to the last play, and no team gave her more joy than the Brownwood, Texas, Lions. She watched games with her father, learning the ends and outs of each play and formation, until she could have coached in her sleep. But, in 1944, women didn’t coach football, and Tylene would never have thought to do so if there hadn’t been a war, if all the men weren’t gone.

Marjorie Hererra Lewis’s novel When the Men Were Gone is a look at gender politics and what it means to protect children. In that way, it is the perfect book for 2018. After an historic presidential election in 2016 that saw the first woman nominated by a major party to the horrific and terrifying rise of school shootings in America, Lewis’s book reminds us of the things that should matter most. Namely, it reminds us that the person most qualified to do a job should be trusted to do it, and that children, our most precious resource, should be protected at all costs.

When Tylene takes up the coaching of the Brownwood Lions, she does so to protect the boys from going off to war any earlier than they must. She knows, without a football season, many of them might drop out of school and enlist prematurely. She chooses to take on the coaching job despite personal and professional strife: friends question her, the principal of the school doubts her, students and parents ridicule her, all without giving her a chance to prove herself.

The book’s resolution is one that offers hope, something we all need more of today. If you’re looking for a quick, good read that makes you think and feel, look no further than When the Men Were Gone.


Reviewed By:

Author Marjorie Herrera Lewis
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher William Morrow Paperbacks
Publish Date 2018-Oct-02
ISBN 9780062836052
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2018
Category Historical Fiction
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