ILBNH, otherwise known as InsertLiteraryBlogNameHere, included DEFENDING IRENE in their list of soccer books to read in preparation for the World Cup. My book certainly shows why Italians are so passionate for the Azurri. Soccer isn’t just the national game of Italy; it’s the national passion. But the bias against girls playing the game runs pretty deep. The disapproval that Irene faces from her grandmother was actually inspired by the comments of a woman in her thirties!
“It is rough. It is dangerous,” my friend said.
“Well, I played basketball,” I said.
“I did, too,” she answered. “They’re different.”
That was the first day that I ever heard “maschiaccio.” It’s the Italian equivalent for tomboy with none of the comparatively positive connotations that tomboy currently has in the U.S.