Book Review by Mary Jedlicka Humston
“The script of sports emphasizes competitive bonds and the meaning of a teammate. Dartanyon carrying Leroy legitimized that bond in a tangible way.” (Carry On, by Lisa Fenn, page 93)
A tragic train accident in elementary school claims both of Leroy Sutton’s legs. Dartanyon Crockett is legally blind. When these two poverty-stricken high schoolers become wrestling teammates, their disabilities connect them in countless ways, especially when Dartanyon begins carrying Leroy.
Yes, physically carrying Leroy on his back.
The author, Lisa Fenn, a six-time Emmy Award-winning feature producer with ESPN for thirteen years, hears about the duo who attend a tough Cleveland public school. She expresses interest in producing an ESPN program featuring the inspiring story of their friendship and brother-like bond. Soon, the tale travels far beyond their high school halls.
Carry On grips us from the start, pulling us so deep into Leroy and Dartanyon’s lives to the point where we care what happens to them long after the celebrated ESPN show. Fenn follows Leroy and Dartanyon after high school graduation, into college, and beyond.
Don’t shy away from this book because you’re not a sports fan. There’s much more depth here than Fenn merely detailing an ESPN storyline. She takes us on an incredible journey of the relationship between these two young men and then the one that remarkably includes Fenn and her family.
She says it best when she writes:
“They drew us out of safe places to become bridges across perceived barriers of race and class…They taught us that when we accept what we are called to do, we become who we are created to be. They taught us to carry on.” (page 295)
We can’t help but be moved by Leroy and Dartanyon’s extraordinary friendship and how Fenn’s life meshes with theirs. This is a memoir of guts, poverty, pain, courage, perseverance, and success.
Don’t miss it.