The Rules of Backyard Cricket, written by Jock Serong, follows two fiercely competitive brothers who grow up with backyard cricket and go on to make it a career. It begins with Darren, the more raucous, wayward of the two in the back of a car boot, bound and gagged. The style of the book works well – each chapter begins with an update of the boot journey, followed by a narrative of the boys journey to cricketdom and all that has gone wrong on the way.
Cricket is not of interest to me at all, but there is a great balance of cricket strategy and skills mixed with the brother’s own strategy to keep it from getting monotonous. Cricket features a lot in the book, but again it’s balanced well with the toll of cricket on families, the politics within, and some of the underbelly of the sporting world.
The main focus is on Wally and Darren and their very different lives and views, and their competitiveness against each other in all areas. This leads to a fabulous conclusion that unfold tragically and surprisingly.
I really enjoyed this book – it’s a great crime thriller, exploration of male relationships, lots of bawdy gangster talk and action, and a fabulous ending.