Richfield High may be a mythical place in Barton Ludwig’s, Blitzball, but to the predominately white, Aryan residents of the town of Upper Richfield, the school and more importantly its soccer team is the focus of their pride, their hopes, and their dreams. Unfortunately, Upper Richfield’s Soccer team spearheaded by Addie and his motley collection of oddball team-mates is on a real losing streak. Their nemesis is the Lower Richfield, North Prep School, which is predominately populated by immigrants, a collection of Mexican, Brazilian and Filipino students. When Richfield High is beaten again, by North Prep and to add insult to injury, their team is led by a girl, Shaylee, Addie determines to discover what black magic this girl is using to always beat up on their beloved team. What Addie discovers when he delves into Lower Richfield will surprise and shock him, challenging all his preconceived notions of Aryan Supremacy and the purpose of his life.
Blitzball, I suspect, is intended as a comedic parody and in that it does perform extremely well. Author, Barton Ludwig, by ludicrously stretching our imaginations and challenging our prejudices, gives us a possible insight into our world today. Many of the situations and ingrained prejudices highlighted in this story have direct parallels with the rise of populism and nationalism that appears to be currently sweeping the Western world. I’m not 100% sure if that was the authors intent, but in many ways this story does smack us in the face and remind us that the veneer of western civilisation is indeed very thin and we don’t have to look far to see what evil can occur when “good men do nothing”. I found Ludwig’s writing style very suited to the nature of the material. It is potentially aimed at the Young Adult market and at its core it is a “coming of age” story that will resonate within the hearts of many of its readers who have also suffered the taunts, bullying, and unreasonable prejudices of their peers. I enjoyed the read, which did at times make me chuckle and can definitely recommend it as something outside the mainstream of young adult literature.