More Than Rivals by Ken Abraham is more than a book about basketball. It is the true story of the success and greatness two boys can achieve through a deep love for each other that grows out of a love for the game.
Eddie Sherlin and Bill Ligion grew up in Gallatin, Tennessee, literally, on different sides of the track, when more than the train tracks separated them. These two boys let barriers of race and family melt away as their friendship deepened whenever they could find a hoop to shoot baskets.
I found the book to be inspiring as I was drawn back to the 1960’s and 70’s when segregation ran high in the hearts of towns and peoples. Ken Abraham does a wonderful job at telling their story while weaving in the political events taking place at that time. The characters are brought to life as they face and overcome the battles of race to develop a strong friendship.
The author tells the struggles of each family, both Christian, to overcome the differences they know to be wrong yet challenging society during those years. He does a wonderful job bringing to life the parenting issues each mother faced. Each encouraged their sons to do the right and honorable despite what might come of it. In so doing, they raised boys able to look beyond skin color to change the course of a town.
I enjoyed this book, finding it hard to put down, as the characters were made real to me. I was drawn to learn more deeply of the events which transpired while I was still young and unaware. This story brought perspective from both sides of the track brilliantly.
This is a book sure to be enjoyed by adults, high schoolers, basketball fans or not. The story is told in a moving and engaging style. I found myself deeply respecting Bill Ligion for not only extending the hand of friendship to Eddie Sherlin but also remaining positive in the face of obstacles, never allowing himself to be smothered by hatred or in holding a grudge.
There truly are many lessons to be learned from this book; the most powerful one being:
Darkness must flee wherever the true light shines.
*** I received a copy of this book from Revell for review purposes. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.