Convinced an experimental surgery will solve her problems, Tina drags her sister on a wild journey from Nova Scotia to Boston. Along the way, Tina finds a gem of a boxer and convinces him to let her operate as his manager. Though skeptical at first, Jesse Mankiller begins to respect Tina’s unorthodox style. Together they hope to prove they have what it takes to win the big fight.
Like its protagonist, Tina MacKenzie, this is definitely one of those books that you might overlook at first. But while the cover won’t reach out and grab you, the story certainly will. Whip-quick narrative and dynamic characters make this novel a one-sitting read and one of the best I’ve read this year. It’s not often that an author assembles the perfect mixture of heroism and flaw in her characters, but Stellings really does it this time. It’s absolutely fabulous. Sports fans will love the journey of an unknown fighter going for a major title and readers looking for a heartwarming tale will fall in love with Tina’s sharp mouth and soft heart. It’s a beautiful story.
References to sexual behavior, but no details. Brief nudity.
Descriptions of boxing matches. Limited details about injuries, etc. A character is threatened at gunpoint by mafia thugs.
Update – 1/15/15
The Manager by Caroline Stellings has just been honored with the 2015 Hamilton Literary Award for fiction. The novel is also a finalist for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction at the 2014 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards.