Jack Olsen

The Pitcher’s Kid

$19.95$28.95

The Pitcher’s Kid is Jack Olsen’s memoir of the first 18 years of his life, years that formed his voice, his ear, and his passionate concern for the underdog. It is a story of a young boy’s desperate yearning for a father during a time of extreme poverty and confusion and of a family’s struggle to not just survive, but to triumph.

“With a storyteller’s passion for narrative and a forensic investigator’s ear for wrong notes, Jack Olsen set the bar for crime journalists. His ultimate goal, he once said, was to learn how and why a child grows up to be a monster. In his best work, Olsen gave us the chilling truth about psychopathic behavior. In The Pitcher’s Kid, Olsen lovingly writes of a transient childhood where his father, a hustler of dubious reputation and miserable morals, is the ghostly center of the story and the child’s measure of manhood. Olsen spent his writing career unveiling the atrocities humans commit. In his own memoir, he shows us the tenacity of a child’s love as well as the origin of the author’s search for truth.” – Zac Mucha

Publishers Weekly called him “the best true crime writer around.”

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Description

The Pitcher’s Kid is Jack Olsen’s memoir of the first 18 years of his life, years that formed his voice, his ear, and his passionate concern for the underdog. It is a story of a young boy’s desperate yearning for a father during a time of extreme poverty and confusion. The book has been compared to Frank McCourt for its poignant depiction of deprivation, to Geoffrey Wolff for its sad depiction of a deceptive father, and to David Sedaris for its hilarious depiction of childhood. This is an unforgettable tale of coming of age during the hard years of America’s Depression and of a family’s struggle to not just survive, but to triumph.

“The book becomes less somber and downright funny when Olsen shares tales of his teenage rites of passage raunchy humor abounds. Although he finds his own niche through bowling when he becomes a city doubles champ, most of the author’s youth was spent as an underachiever and social outcast. This delightful memoir has a timeless appeal that allows readers to identify easily with the young Olsen and will find an enthusiastic audience in public libraries.” – Karl Helicher, ForeWord Magazine

“The Pitcher’s Kid is wonderful with Jack Olsen’s personal voice making this a laughable, delightful, realistic, and memorable read. Yes, there is definitely adult language but in this particular novel, it does not seem inappropriate, but genuine to the situation. The society pressures of the communities makes this feel like you are right there with Jack in many of his awkward situations during his first seventeen years of life, prior to our country entering World War II. Also, the places in New Jersey and Philadelphia had their own identities, and sometimes languages, making this a perfect glimpse into life in these times and places.” – From an Amazon comment – Teri

 

Born June 7, 1925,in Indianapolis, Indiana, Jack Olsen was the award-winning author of 36 books published in 15 countries and 11 languages. A former Time bureau chief, Olsen wrote for Vanity Fair, People, Paris Match, Readers Digest, Playboy, Life, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, New York Times Book Review and others. His books included The Misbegotten Son, The Bridge at Chappaquiddick, the eco-thriller Night of the Grizzlies, and his monumental study of a Nazi massacre in Italy, Silence on Monte Sole. Three of his works were adapted for the screen, including Have You Seen My Son? on ABC. The Philadelphia Inquirer described him as an American treasure. Olsen’s journalism was recognized with the National Headliner Award, the Chicago Newspaper Guild’s Page One Award, the Washington State Governor’s Award, and the Scripps-Howard Award. He was described as “the dean of true crime authors” by the Washington Post and the New York Daily News and “the master of true crime” by the Detroit Free Press and NewsdayPublishers Weekly called him “the best true crime writer around.” His crime studies remain on required reading lists in university criminology courses. In his obituary, The New York Times described his work as “a genuine contribution to criminology and journalism alike.”Jack Olsen passed away on July 17, 2002 in Bainbridge Island, WA.

Additional information

Weight N/A
Dimensions N/A
Format

Hardcover, Paperback

Author

Jack Olsen

ISBN

978-1-929355-76-1

Amazon

http://a.co/dZt55VQ

Original Language

English

Publish Date

8/14/2011

Page/Word Count

412 pages

Praise

a hustler of dubious reputation and miserable morals, a short outsider, ForeWord Magazine 8/30/2011 In The Pitcher's Kid, he shows us the tenacity of a child's love as well as the origin of the author's search for truth –Zac Mucha, in which a good meal was half a hotdog and dandelion greens and the public schools are described as prisons run by the inmates. The author, including his alleged education and baseball career. He was a philanderer and a failure as an insurance adjuster who would waste his meager earnings gambling. Flo Olsen, including The Bridge at Chappaquiddick and Silence on Monte Sole. The late author was a former New York Times bureau chief, is the ghostly center of the story and the child's measure of manhood. Olsen spent his writing career unveiling the atrocities humans commit. In his own memoir, It is a long story. Here, Jack Olsen wrote thirty-three books, Jack's mother, Near the end of this book, Olsen lovingly writes of a transient childhood where his father, Olsen tells that story in a lengthy coming-of-age memoir that will leave the reader wishing it were even longer. A late bloomer, said her greatest mistake was marrying Rudolph. Yet, the author's high school homeroom teacher asks how the young man with the highest IQ in his room managed to graduate in the bottom three percent of his class. Olsen replied, took his lumps. Fortunately, where Jack lived with his grandmother, whose only income was welfare. Olsen vividly portrays this harsh life, wrote for popular magazines

Imprint

Aequitas

5 reviews for The Pitcher’s Kid

  1. Karl Helicher, ForeWord Magazine 8/30/2011

    Near the end of this book, the author’s high school homeroom teacher asks how “the young man with the highest IQ in his room managed to graduate in the bottom three percent of his class. Olsen replied, It was a long story. Here, Olsen tells that story in a lengthy coming-of-age memoir that will leave the reader wishing it were even longer. A late bloomer, Jack Olsen wrote thirty-three books, including The Bridge at Chappaquiddick and Silence on Monte Sole. The late author was a former New York Times bureau chief, wrote for popular magazines, and authored several highly regarded true-crime books. The Philadelphia Inquirer called him a national treasure. This entertaining and revealing autobiography shows what being poor was like for a child during the Great Depression and how the author’s flawed father additionally strained family relations. Rudolph Ole Olsen constructed a life of lies, including his alleged education and baseball career. He was a philanderer and a failure as an insurance adjuster who would waste his meager earnings gambling. Flo Olsen, Jack’s mother, said her greatest mistake was marrying Rudolph. Yet, the younger Olsen demonstrates wisdom beyond his years: he never stopped loving his dad and realized that his father’s failings were attributed to Rudolph’s physically abusive stepmother. The book describes the family’s frequent moves as the Depression and Rudolph’s schemes forced them from suburban Philadelphia to the mean streets of Jersey City, where Jack lived with his grandmother, whose only income was welfare. Olsen vividly portrays this harsh life, in which a good meal was half a hotdog and dandelion greens and the public schools are described as prisons run by the inmates. The author, a short outsider, took his lumps. Fortunately, in 1936 the family moved to West Philadelphia and then to a friendly Drexel Hill neighborhood. “The book becomes less somber and downright funny when Olsen shares tales of his teenage rites of passage raunchy humor abounds. Although he finds his own niche through bowling when he becomes a city doubles champ, most of the author’s youth was spent as an underachiever and social outcast. This delightful memoir has a timeless appeal that allows readers to identify easily with the young Olsen and will find an enthusiastic audience in public libraries.

  2. Zac Mucha

    With a storyteller’s passion for narrative and a forensic investigator’s ear for wrong notes, Jack Olsen set the bar for crime journalists. His ultimate goal, he once said, was to learn how and why a child grows up to be a monster. In his best work, Olsen gave us the chilling truth about psychopathic behavior. In The Pitcher’s Kid, Olsen lovingly writes of a transient childhood where his father, a hustler of dubious reputation and miserable morals, is the ghostly center of the story and the child’s measure of manhood. Olsen spent his writing career unveiling the atrocities humans commit. In his own memoir, he shows us the tenacity of a child’s love as well as the origin of the author’s search for truth

  3. Bink

    Being an avid true crime reader, I’ve missed Jack Olsen’s voice in the years following his death. He never excused criminals, but sought to understand them. He wrote about victims without objectifying or exploiting them. He had a rare talent.

    I’ve read all his true crime, and came searching for some of his non-crime writing. Imagine my delight to find he’d begun his memoirs. Imagine my further delight to find they are hilarious.

    With humor by turns subtle and outrageous, there’s rarely a page in The Pitcher’s Kid that won’t elicit at least a chuckle. It’s so good to read him once more. Many thanks to his beloved wife, Su for getting this published.

  4. Teri

    Most memoirs are about a person and how wonderful that person is, in their own
    viewpoint, slightly jaded and egotistical. The Pitcher’s Kid, though, is a
    realistic, down-to-earth perspective from the eyes of Jack Olsen who grew up as
    a child of the depression who had the weight-of-the-world on his shoulders,
    fulfilling the dreams and expectations of his father, a former major league
    baseball pitcher. This is not an account building anyone’s ego.

    Unfortunately forJack, he does not easily live up to being his father’s progeny,
    and discovers that he is lousy in sports. It doesn’t help either that he skipped
    a grade in elementary school, so he really is the smallest and the last one to
    be chosen for team games. Also, his father has his own version of English
    which is naturally the only correct way of speaking since the words came
    directly from his mouth.

    Besides his father’s athletic reputation, Jack’s father has a fondness for
    gambling and talking big. Unfortunately, to balance that, he is not reliable
    and causes his family many financial problems while others are also having
    problems during the Great Depression.

    The Pitcher’s Kid is wonderful with Jack Olsen’s personal voice making this a
    laughable, delightful, realistic, and memorable read. Yes, there is definitely
    adult language but in this particular novel, it does not seem inappropriate, but
    genuine to the situation. The society pressures of the communities makes this
    feel like you are right there with Jack in many of his awkward situations during
    his first seventeen years of life, prior to our country entering World War II.
    Also, the places in New Jersey and Philadelphia had their own identities, and
    sometimes languages, making this a perfect glimpse into life in these times and
    places.

    Jack Olsen lived from 1925-2002. He became an author who won numerous awards
    publishing thirty-three books, being a former Times bureau chief, and writing
    for a variety of magazines.

    Others have compared Jack Olsen’s writing of this book to Frank McCourt,
    Geoggrey Wolff, and David Sedaris. Yes, I have read these, but Jack Olsen’s is
    more sincere and even has a little taste of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Of
    all of these, unquestionably, Jack’s personal voice is the best.

    The Pitcher’s Kid is an educational and enlightening journey to a past time that
    hopefully will never need to be repeated.

  5. Sue Zaris

    Loved this book. Poignant, tons of humor, easy read, especially recommend if Catcher in the Rye was a favorite. A do not miss.

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