Carol Birch,
Lou Gehrig:
The Story of a Great Man

(Silver Birch, 2004)

The audiobook of Lou Gehrig: The Story of a Great Man by Carol Birch will appeal to many types of people. The first, most obvious, group would be those fans of all things baseball who celebrate baseball heroes from the past and would enjoy listening to this CD about Gehrig even though there is nothing new they would learn.

A second group of folks would be fans of Birch. According to the promotional material, Birch is "Connecticut's premier storyteller." She has received numerous awards and appeared on both television and radio. She has released several books and audiobooks. Her fans know that she is very articulate and has an effective method of projecting emotional highs and lows to her listening audience. Even if you are not a fan of baseball, you will more than likely feel joy and pain as you follow Carol's recounting of Lou's rise as an athlete and eventual death at an early age due to a disease that now bears his namesake.

Folks who suffer from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) -- Lou Gehrig's Disease -- or know someone who does might think that this hour-long audiobook might give them more insight in to the disease that slowly robs a victim of his muscle control. Unfortunately, that won't be the case. This story brings up the disease in the last minutes of the tale. Instead of providing information on the disease, Carol tells her listeners how Lou approached this hardship from a positive perspective. He counted himself very lucky for the blessings in his life. Some might find this inspirational and it might help them find peace with their lot in life.

A final group that might enjoy Lou Gehrig: The Story of a Great Man would be young kids. When I heard Carol speak, her vocal intonation brought back memories of teachers or librarians reading to my elementary class. Sometimes the words are a little big, but from the slow pace, the tone and the rising/falling pitch of her voice, I think most children would follow Carol's story quite easily.

Depending upon your perspective, Carol Birch's Lou Gehrig would be a decent acquisition if you are a fan of old baseball legends, a lover of good storytelling regardless of the subject, or a little kid. Those knowledgeable with baseball will surely forgive Carol as she explains baseball terms like RBI and Triple Crown. She has a wide audience and has to make sure she can connect with all of them. I think she can.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 30 April 2005

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