Brian Piccolo Critical Context - Essay

Jeannie Morris

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

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.