Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

InBrian Piccolo: A Short Season, Jeannie Morris has compiled a narrative of Piccolo’s life using interviews with family and friends, the medical records of his hospital admissions, and Piccolo’s personal writings. The book tells the story of Piccolo’s life and battle with cancer in a somewhat scattered fashion by interspersing accounts of his youth, his high school years, and his college career with an account of his struggle against cancer. The biography can be confusing at times because Morris’ narrative jumps from third to first person and back again and shifts locations and times.

The book is not divided into chapters, with the only real breaks being the third-and first-person shifts, which often jar readers until they can determine what is taking place. The admissions records for Piccolo’s hospital stays provide the transitional bridges from the accounts of his earlier life to that of his present life. The book also goes through several time sequence jumps. The biography begins with a one-page prologue set in the final hours of Piccolo’s life and then shifts to the point just before his diagnosis. From there, the viewpoint shifts back and forth, offering the reader selected glimpses of events that shaped Piccolo’s personality and career. These vignettes give the reader the feeling of having known, or at least met, Piccolo. The narratives of past and present eventually blend into each other to reach a logical, seamless conclusion in Piccolo’s death.

Brian Piccolo also includes two sets of sequenced black-and-white photographs from the subject’s life. The first set runs from childhood through Piccolo’s professional career, showing how football was a major drive in his life. The second set encompasses Piccolo’s private life and includes his wife, Joy, his children, and Carol Murrath, his wife’s sister. The photographs serve as a complement to the text: They show that there was no difference between Piccolo the human being and Piccolo the football player.

The inclusion of Piccolo’s personal writings in the book rounds out the presentation of his personality by giving the reader insights into his thoughts. Piccolo always emphasized his personal life over his football career in his writings, showing him to be a person who cared about other people first. In the final pages of the book, personal notes from Joy Piccolo, Carol Murrath, and Brian Piccolo are included.