Wait Till Next Year a Memoir

by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Paperback, 1998




New York Touchstone 1998


Wait Till Next Year is the story of a young girl growing up in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s. When owning a single-family home on a tree-lined street, meant the realization of dreams. When everyone knew everyone else on the block and the children gathered in the streets to play from sunup to sundown. The neighborhood was equally divided among Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans. The corner stores were the scenes of fierce and affectionate rivalries. The narrative begins in 1949 at the dawn of a glorious era in baseball. An era that saw one of the three New York teams competing in the World Series every year. An era when the lineups on most teams remained basically intact year after year, allowing fans to extend loyalty and love to their chosen teams. Knowing that for the most part, their favorite players would return the following year, exhibiting their familiar strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and habits. Never would there be a better time to be a Brooklyn Dodger fan. But in 1957 it all came to an abrupt end when the Dodgers (and the Giants) were forcibly uprooted from New York and transplanted to California. Shortly after the Dodgers left, Kearns' mother dies, and the family moved from the old neighborhood to an apartment on the other side of town. This move coincided with the move of several other families on the block and with the decline of the corner store as the supermarket began to take over. It was the end of an era and the beginning of another era--and for Kearns, the end of childhood.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member TadAD
This is a memoir of historian Doris Kearns' childhood in Brooklyn and her overwhelming love for the Brooklyn Dodgers. As anyone who has read some of her of her other books knows, she can write and this one is no different. It flows; it draws you back into the 1950s when baseball was the national pastime and television did not yet rule the land.

It is, however, a bit of a paean to that era, leaning heavily on the nostalgia button. It would be wrong to say that it was viewing things through rose-colored lenses but there's no question where the emphasis lay: communities were closer; the neighborhoods were safe; the economy was doing well; free agency hadn't ruined the concept of team loyalty.

If you're looking for something deep and incisive like Team of Rivals, this isn't the right place. If I had to choose a single word, I think it would be: pleasant.
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LibraryThing member maggie1944
Doris Kearns Goodwin was born a couple years before I was and so her memoir of growing up in the 1950s brought much nostalgia to my mind. Her neighborhood in Brooklyn was both very different, and a bit the same, as my neighborhood in Seattle. My family moved away and I lost this idyllic neighborhood when I was very young; DKG did not move from hers until high school so she has many good stories to tell. Central to her story was her, and her father's, indeed her whole family's, devotion to the Brooklyn Dodgers during the golden years of baseball. Even I, in far away Seattle, knew the names of the wonderful baseball teams and stars. It was a great time to be a kid and she does a superior job of evoking the magic of summer evenings, playing all day long with the neighborhood gang, enjoying long and deep friendships, and going to the beach; all this before TV took our family homes and closed the doors to the outside.… (more)
LibraryThing member Fernhill
Easily read memoir of Kearns and her family growing up inlove with Brooklyn Dodgers. Not her best work, she writes better about others than she writes about herself.
LibraryThing member TheAmpersand
I really wanted to like this one. I'm a guy and a baseball fan, but I've long suspected that I follow baseball like a lot of female baseball fans do: I care less about winning and statistical excellence than about the stories, personalities, culture and aesthetics of the game. So "Wait Till Next Year" seemed like a good fit for me. After having gotten halfway through it, though, I'm dismayed to report that there doesn't seem to be enough material in here to make a book out of. We get some fond reminiscences about growing up on Long Island during the prosperous fifties, a description of the author's home life, and, yes, a lot about baseball. But what seems to be lacking is any analysis of why the game appealed to the author, or what she got out of it. She was a Dodgers fan, and this seems to have cemented the bond she had with her father...but then, what? In "Wait Till Next Year," her connection with the team and the game doesn't seem to go too far beyond standard-issue sports fan tribalism. The author, though she seems quite aware of the particular social conditions under which she grew up, seems to be hewing too close to the emotions she might have experienced as a very young Dodgers fan. But I'm still not sure what that might have contributed to her adult self. Not what I was looking for.… (more)
LibraryThing member nmele
Excellent memoir of a father-daughter duo who love the Brooklyn Dodgers.
LibraryThing member RavenousReaders
Baseball season is here! Doris Kearns Goodwin takes a nostalgic look at growing up in the ‘50s and her devotion to the Brooklyn Dodgers. If you are disgusted by steroids and multi-million dollar contracts, this book will take you back to the glory days of baseball.

Reviewed by: Sandy
LibraryThing member moibibliomaniac
An excellent memoir of a girl who was a Brooklyn Dodger fan in the late 1940s and early 1950s. My brother was a Dodger fan. I was a Yankee fan. I went to one game at Ebbets Field, but quite a few games at Yankee Stadium.
LibraryThing member KApplebaum
The story of a young girl's love of baseball, by a master storyteller.
LibraryThing member jepeters333
Set in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, this is Goodwin's touching memoir of growing up in love with her family ad baseball. She re-creates the postwar era, when the corner store was a place to share stories and neighborhoods were equally divided between Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans. Goodwin is a great writer - I enjoyed reading about the 1950s - but I got a little tired of all the baseball stories.… (more)
LibraryThing member TakeItOrLeaveIt
I read this when I was 13-14. I loved it then.
LibraryThing member lilithcat
There's something to be said for spending three hours in the dentist's chair. While you wait, you can read. I read this book. Between the bus and the dentist I finished it in a day.

Wow! What a book! Goodwin writes of her childhood through the prism of a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. Growing up in Rockville Centre, one cheered for the Dodgers, or the Yankees, or the Giants. When the Giants & the Dodgers battled for the pennant, or the Dodgers battled the Yankees in the World Series, you cheered for your team, but you kept your friends who were rooting for the other team.

Goodwin learned at age six how to keep score. She keeps score in this book, the score of her love of baseball, of growing up in '50s suburbia, of a childhood touched by the public traumas of McCarthyism, the Rosenberg trial, the Korean War, and the private trauma of her mother's illness. Every year is marked by the Dodgers' winning, or (more often) losing. Their games are the landmarks by which she marks her youth.

The things she loved: baseball, her family, her friends, her neighborhood, and reading. When she first learns to read, "I insisted on reading every sign and billboard along the way. 'Why are you doing this?' Elaine asked. 'Oh, you'll understand someday,' I replied. 'Once you start reading, you can never stop' " How true.

Goodwin is a marvelous writer. It may be that, because she is only six years my senior, I related to much of her experience. It may be that because the cry of "Wait Till Next Year" is heard in Chicago (and, boy, did Cubs fans have their heartbreak last year!), it resonates with me. But I don't think those things really account for how much I loved this book. I think what accounts for it is Goodwin's extraordinary ability to recreate in words what was really quite an ordinary childhood, and make it magical.
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LibraryThing member christinejoseph
50's — Brooklyn — Polio — McCarthy — Catholic — Racial Schools

Set in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, Wait Till Next Year re-creates the postwar era, when the corner store was a place to share stories and neighborhoods were equally divided between Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans.… (more)
LibraryThing member bostonian71
Slim but eloquent memoir that made me laugh out loud several times -- and also made me want to cry several other times. Though this is about Goodwin's childhood, this to me felt neither overly nostalgic or melodramatic. She clearly describes not just the warmth of her family and neighborhood ties, but also the greater historical currents of racism, McCarthyism and fear of nuclear war and how they affected even her small-town upbringing. And as a Red Sox fan who's endured lots of ups and downs over the years, I completely understand the dynamics of her relationship with the Brooklyn Dodgers!… (more)
LibraryThing member cyderry
Being a baseball fan as well, it was great to see this side of such a great writer.
The stories brought back memories of my childhood - the disappointments as well as victories.
LibraryThing member James.Larry.Deaton
I finished Doris Kearn Goodwin's Wait Till Next Year yesterday. In this memoir, she recounts growing up as a Dodger fan in the NYC suburbs in the 1950s. Part of it is about the sadness of being a fan for a team that, like most teams, just didn't win it all at the end of any given season. (Of course, it gets sadder for her when the Dodgers leave Brooklyn to move to LA.)

But most of all, it's the story of her family in a changing America. You get a mix of Jackie Robinson and her feelings about what was going on in Little Rock, Arkansas as it desegregated ... you get her observations about McCarthyism ... you have her insights in just a few paragraphs about the changing economic fortunes of the small storekeepers in her neighborhood, etc. It's not a great book, but it is a good book, and quite moving at times, especially as she relates the stories of her mother and father, who was the Chief Banking Examiner for the state of NY. And I enjoyed the ending as she becomes a Red Sox fan and passes on her love of baseball to her three sons.
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LibraryThing member tgsalter
She grew up a Dodger fan in Brooklyn in the 1950s. the book brought back many memories for me of that period -- the safety of neighborhoods, freedom of childhood along with HUAC, the Bomb, the McCarthy hearings and more.
LibraryThing member jessibud2
Doris Kearns Goodwin is 10 years older than I am and her background, childhood and life differ from mine in every conceivable way. Yet this book, her memoir, captured in me a sense of nostalgia that I found surprising. She is, of course, a wonderful writer, and I love when a book like this has photos; they offer more than just an imagined glimpse into that window to the past. Every time I picked up the book to continue reading, it felt like *going home*...

I am now interested in reading more of her work, as I have always been interested in history. One of her books has won a Pulitzer Prize (No Ordinary Time, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II).
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LibraryThing member mypinktoes
A gift from my husband. Wonderfully readable and engaging.



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