Cardboard OceaneBook - 2014
Bestselling author and TV personality Mike McCardell, known for his humorous and touching portraits of ordinary BC lives, turns a new page and crafts a bittersweet memoir of his own hardscrabble childhood in New York City.
Written with all the warmth and ironic humour his fans have come to know and love, Cardboard Ocean is an affectionate evocation of a childhood in a rough setting, but with the thrills, chills and loves that will be familiar to anyone who was ever young. McCardell was raised by a working mother in the borough of Queens where even the grade schoolers ran in gangs, fiercely protecting their turf from intrusion by the tykes a few blocks away. The prized possession of "Mickey" McCardell's kiddie gang was an ice cream factory disposal yard piled high with waste cardboard. This was their "ocean" into which they would dive and "swim" in search of cast-off ice-cream sandwich wafers. None of them had ever swum in real water or seen the real ocean although it was only a subway ride away.
All conversation, radio broadcasts and even attempts to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" were drowned out every few minutes by the thunder of a passing El train, Jackie Robinson was everyone's hero and even sworn enemies joined forces to cheer the Brooklyn Dodgers in their futile battle with the hated Yankees. Full of stickball, street fights, truancy and trouble, Cardboard Ocean captures a way of life where fun and danger were real rather than digitized.
McCardell's unmistakable voice, unflagging humour and knack for finding magic in everyday life will thoroughly satisfy his devoted fans and charm those discovering him for the first time. In terms of sustained storytelling, Cardboard Ocean may be his best book yet.