by Dan Jenkins
Teacher’s Comments: A cynical look at the LPGA, and mostly funny. It’s not Jenkins’ best work, but still is very good.
In The Franchise Babe, sporstwriter extraordinaire Dan Jenkins takes on the LPGA and its new crop of “lolitas”—the young girls who bring so much talent, and so much sex appeal to the Tour. It’s not as good as “Dead Solid Perfect,” but still worth reading.
The book’s protagonist is Jack Brannon, a cynical, politically incorrect, Texas-bred sports reporter. Weary of Tiger Mania and the “fat happy slugs” who are happy to play second fiddle, Brannon decides to spend a few weeks covering the other Tour—the LPGA. There, his attention is caught by Ginger Clayton—one of the lolitas—and even more by her mother, a stunningly attractive divorcee.
Brannon travels with the Claytons to several tour stops—the Firm Chick Classic, the Speedy Arrow Energy Bar Classic, and the never-to-be-forgotton Le Grand Cheval et Petit Chien Classique (known as the Dinah Shore before the commissioner sells out to a French company that specializes in horsemeat dog food). Along the way, Brannon falls further and further in with the Claytons until, at the end, he loses his objectivity entirely.
The Franchise Babe is a love story, a mystery, and a very funny sports satire. Jenkins pulls no punches in skewering players, agents, the LPGA Commissioner, golf executives, sportswriters, editors, pushy golf parents, the rich, corporate sponsors,golf course architects, fans, protesters, liberals and anyone else who happens to get in the way.
This is by no means Jenkins’ best work, but it is an enjoyable read. I really like Jenkins’ writing style, which features a lot of snappy dialogue and “insider” golf language. At 224 pages, I finished it in just under two hours.
I’ll happily recommend this book for everyone but the easily offended.