Wait Till Next Year

A Memoir

Wait Till Next Year

Wait Till Next Yearis the story of a young girl growing up in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, when owning a single-family home on a tree-lined street meant the realization of dreams, when everyone knew everyone else on the block, and the children gathered in the streets to play from sunup to sundown. The neighborhood was equally divided among Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans, and the corner stores were the scenes of fierce and affectionate rivalries.

The narrative begins in 1949 at the dawn of a glorious era in baseball, an era that saw one of the three New York teams competing in the World Series every year, and era when the lineups on most teams remained basically intact year after year, allowing fans to extend loyalty and love to their chosen teams, knowing that for the most part, their favorite players would return the following year, exhibiting their familiar strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and habits. Never would there be a better time to be a Brooklyn Dodger fan. But in 1957 it all came to an abrupt end when the Dodgers (and the Giants) were forcibly uprooted from New York and transplanted to California.

Shortly after the Dodgers left, Kearns' mother dies, and the family moved from the old neighborhood to an apartment on the other side of town. This move coincided with the move of several other families on the block and with the decline of the corner store as the supermarket began to take over. It was the end of an era and the beginning of another and, for Kearns, the end of childhood.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9780743566568 | 
  • October 1997
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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Discussion Points

  1. Like millions of Americans, Doris was caught up in the glory days of baseball in the 1950s, exhilarated by the Dodgers' victories, and pained by each and every loss. Individual players became her heroes, as well-loved and respected as family and friends. How important is it for people -- particularly children -- to have such heroes to look up to? How can we feel such a strong kinship to people we have never met? Are sports figures the best role models? What lessons can athletes teach us about life?
  2. Doris's parents each pass on their own special gifts to their daughter. Through baseball, Mr. Kearns teaches Doris the importance of telling a story slowly, building the drama to a powerful crescendo. Through reading, Mrs. Kearns demonstrates the beauty of a well-chosen word, and how a good book can take you away to places you might otherwise never go. Discuss how these gifts complement one another and how they came together to make Doris the historian and wordsmith she is today.
  3. In the 1950s, most fathers did not take their little girls to baseball games. How did you respond to the female point of view in this book? Did you see Doris as the son her father never had? Or was she an extension of his sister, Marguerite? What does Mr. Kearns' relationship with Doris provide that he missed during his tragic childhood?
  4. Although her childhood was marked by the untimely death of her mother, Doris
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Articles About This Book


Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Julianna Haubner

The 2015 baseball season is now upon us, which means hot dogs and long sunny days spent in stadiums. We were inspired to look back at the stories and players who have made baseball such an integral part of our nation’s history. From novels to...

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About the Author

Doris Kearns Goodwin
Photograph © Eric Levin

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin is the author of the runaway bestseller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. She won the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II and is also the author of the bestsellers Wait Till Next Year, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her husband, Richard N. Goodwin.