Book Review: Anna Black – this girl can play by Texi Smith
Texi Smith has brought readers three books so far, Introducing Jarrod Black, Hospital Pass and Guilty Party, featuring the central character, successful fictional Socceroos player Jarrod Black. In his latest offering from his ‘unashamed football novel’ series Smith brings readers Anna Black – this girl can play, as we are introduced to Jarrod’s younger sister, Anna.
Whilst the Jarrod Black books are set predominantly in England and in real-time, the Anna Black story takes place mainly in Australia, and looks to the future with the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the heart of the plotlines, which incidentally will be hosted in two years’ time by the Antipodean neighbours of Australia and New Zealand.
Format-wise this book follows those of the first and third Jarrod Black stories, with fifty short sharp chapters keeping the readers attention and the action moving along at pace, as the football career of Anna unfolds. As with his other titles Smith displays his own love, knowledge and experience of the game through his writing with the plots and situations strong with their usual convincing credibility thanks to his research, aided by those who he acknowledges provided insight and guidance into the life of elite players in the women’s game down under.
Whilst this is a football-tale, Smith hasn’t been afraid in this book to touch on sexuality within women’s game and he deals with it in a sensitive manner, engendering a positive message about football being an inclusive game.
There is also a nod to how technology can be used in modern-day publishing with QR codes dotted throughout for the World Cup matches. It’s a nice touch and for those unable to access the codes a dedicated page on the web has been provided at https://www.annablackbook.com/
This book is undoubtedly a celebration of the women’s game and hopefully will be inspirational to young girls who want to take up the sport. Anna Black – this girl can play well Texi Smith – this boy can write.
[Note: The QR code that appears on page 206 should have sat between pages 215-216. This should be rectified in later copies of the book.]
(Popcorn Press. March 2021. Paperback: 254 pages)