Streep draws out the adolescent boys — no small feat — and writes evocatively about their community, their dreams beyond their tiny town and the pull that keeps them close. What emerges is an immersive portrait of a small tribal town where shared history runs deep, opportunity feels elusive, and basketball is a visceral expression of collective pride, hope and grit ... Streep writes vividly about the game...and he writes with feeling about the Montana landscape that anchors the Arlee community ... Despite the basketball victories, and there are a lot of them, this is a melancholy book that is haunted by the specter of suicide ... Even tragedy can be monetized, and Streep deftly chronicles the challenging terrain ... He frets about coming off like another one of those 'outside journalists either applying a bore-like focus, without consent, to trauma, or romanticizing the culture.' He avoids both traps, and, unlike so many reporters, he’s comfortable with what he doesn’t know.
An earnest account of a Montana high school basketball team’s quest to repeat as state champions in 2018 ... Streep is in top form with the on-court action and insights into the discrimination faced by Native athletes, though he somewhat shortchanges the tribal history. Still, this is a rousing portrait of a long-shot team beating the odds.
An action-packed yet reflective account of the quest for a high school basketball championship on and off a Montana Indian reservation ... Readers will applaud the boys’ accomplishments against the long odds while shaking their heads at the many institutional and social obstacles placed in their way, not least of them lack of support from higher education ... Excellent on-court set pieces ... A thoughtful call for social justice as much as a story of striving for athletic excellence.