When the Men Were Gone by Marjorie Herrera Lewis (Review by Kathy Travis)

1 min read

It’s September 1944, and WWII is in full swing. In the small town of Brownwood, TX, all of the able-bodied men over 18 have gone off to fight in the war. When the head football coach is killed overseas and his out-of-town replacement re-enlists, Brownwood High School is left without a football coach.

Assistant Principal Tylene Wilson learned football from years of accompanying her father to games and dissecting every play. In fact, she knows it better than most men in her town. She loves the sport and believes that football is the only thing keeping the senior boys from enlisting and shipping off to an early death. She is determined to find someone to coach the boys, and tries everything, even hiring the school handyman. After he refuses the job and Tylene has run out of options, her husband convinces her to take the helm.

Once her plan is discovered, Tylene is subjected to ridicule and severe opposition from her friends and neighbors, and refs, and reluctance from her own players. When the opposing teams insist they will forfeit before playing against a woman, she must again use her determination and pluck to convince the men to give her team a chance.

Based on the true story of Tylene Wilson, this book is positive and uplifting. As a woman reader, I found myself rooting for Tylene the whole way. This story is a reminder that even in the face of daunting opposition, people can accomplish great things if they simply believe in themselves.

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