Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

John Devaney’s biography Bo Jackson: A Star for All Seasons traces the life and career of a young man of almost unequaled athletic prowess and ability, providing an example for other youngsters to follow. Devaney presents Bo Jackson’s life in seventeen chapters, frequently using flashbacks. The first chapter begins with an episode that occurred when Jackson was thirteen years old; Devaney then moves back and forth to episodes in Jackson’s life that occurred when he was both younger and older. Devaney devotes the first three chapters primarily to the struggles and conflicts of his subject’s childhood as a poor African-American boy in the South. He describes in poignant and vivid detail the mistreatment of people and animals by the troubled “Boar” (later shortened to “Bo”) Jackson.

In chapter 3, however, Devaney describes the turnaround in Jackson’s life, which resulted from newfound religion, a desire to please his mother, an interest in going to college, talent in track and baseball, and a desire to stay out of the penitentiary. Although some of Jackson’s inner conflicts had been settled by the time that he was graduated from high school, other conflicts continued. The book devotes considerable attention to the agony that he experienced in deciding whether to sign a professional baseball contract or to attend college. Devaney chronicles Jackson’s continued difficulties after making his decision to play football at Auburn...

(The entire section is 421 words.)