Mostly True

Mostly True

A Memoir of Family, Food, and Baseball

Molly O'Neill's father believed that baseball was his family's destiny. He wanted to spawn enough sons for an infield, so he married the tallest woman in Columbus, Ohio. Molly came out first, but eventually her father's plan prevailed. Five boys followed in rapid succession and the youngest, Paul O'Neill, did, in fact, grow up to be the star right fielder for the New York Yankees. In Mostly True, celebrated food critic and writer O'Neill tells the story of her quintessentially American family and the places where they come together -- around the table and on the ball field.

Molly's great-grandfather played on one of the earliest traveling teams in organized baseball, her grandfather played barnstorming ball, and her father pitched in the minor leagues, but after being sidelined with an injury in the war, he set his sights on the next generation. While her brothers raged and struggled to become their own men, Molly, appointed "Deputy Mom" at an age when most girls were playing with dolls, learned early how to be the model Midwestern homemaker and began casting about wildly for other possible destinies. As her mother cleaned fanatically and produced elaborate, healthy meals, Molly spoiled her bro-thers with skyscraper cakes, scribbled reams of poetry, and staged theatrical productions in the backyard. By the late 1960s, the Woodstock Nation had challenged some of the O'Neill values, but nothing altered their conviction that only remarkable achievement could save them.

Mostly True is the uncommon chronicle of a regular family pursuing the American dream and of one girl's quest to find her place in a world built for boys. Molly O'Neill -- an independent, extraordinarily talented, and fiercely funny woman -- showed that home runs can be hit in many fields. Her memoir is glorious.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743232692 | 
  • April 2008
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About the Author

Molly O'Neill
Photo Credit: Fred Conrad

Molly O'Neill

For a decade, Molly O'Neill was the food columnist for The New York Times Magazine and the host of the PBS series Great Food. Her work has appeared in many national magazines, and she is the author of three cookbooks, including the award-winning The New York Cookbook. She lives in New York City.

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