Brian Piccolo is a highly personal look at the tragic loss of one of football’s rising young stars. The book is written in a straightforward style that makes it easy to follow for young adult readers. Morris focuses on the human side of Piccolo, emphasizing his warm personality as well as his football prowess.
While the technical wording contained in the medical reports might cause some problems in understanding for younger readers, it might also stimulate an interest in learning more about cancer. The impersonality of the reports helps to distance readers from Piccolo’s cancer and allows them to focus on Piccolo as an ordinary human being, as it is Piccolo’s personality that constitutes the attractive force of the book. Nevertheless, the book’s emphasis on Piccolo’s cancer, and the honest manner in which his problems and surgeries are described, provides a good introduction to the realities of a deadly disease. This focus also points out to younger readers that anyone can contract cancer. At an age when many young people see themselves as immortal and indestructible, Brian Piccolo provides a sobering look at the mortality of everyone—even heroes.
Morris has chosen not to show Piccolo as a larger-than-life football star, as the narrative maintains a matter-of-fact tone that portrays him as a very normal person. The story of his life is made up of everyday anecdotes, and Piccolo is depicted as a likable young man...
(The entire section is 515 words.)
Brian Piccolo was one of the first books to focus on the death of a rising young athlete in a humanistic way. Morris’ straightforward writing style and matter-of-fact tone capture the interest of younger readers, and Piccolo’s fame as a football player and the coverage given to his protracted illness and death have contributed to its popularity. The book started out as a history of the strange quirks of Piccolo’s football career. When he died, however, it became a memorial to his life.
With the rising number of sports figures who are being implicated in various sorts of scandals, this book portrays the true life-style of the majority of athletes. Thus, it dispels this negative image and gives young people a highly positive role model to follow. Piccolo’s philosophy of life, his refusal to give up the fight, will serve as an inspiration to many young athletes.
Over the years, Brian Piccolo has given many readers a realistic look at football players and their lives off the gridiron. By emphasizing the ordinary things in Piccolo’s life, Morris brings the football player down from the status of an idol to that of a real person. Consequently, the book serves as a valuable tool for showing young readers the realities of the life of a sports star, as well as the realities of one of the most fatal diseases in the world.