Brian Piccolo Critical Essays

Jeannie Morris


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

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.)