WHEN YOU COME TO A FORK
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
There is no doubt that when Yogi Berra uttered the various malapropisms for which he is famous he had some idea about what he meant. In When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!, Berra takes his various sayings and applies them to his own vision of life, explaining what he meant when he said his misstatements.
When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It! is a collection of forty short chapters which include a philosophy and autobiography. However, while Berra's conversational style makes When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It! a quick and enjoyable read, he hardly has enough to say to fill even this short a book and both stories and philosophies are repeated throughout the book.
Berra has a very optimistic approach to life, essentially believing that things will always work out for the best. He explains that the title of the book simply means that when you have a choice to make, it is important to make a choice and not second guess yourself. In the long run, your decision will be beneficial. Berra mentions a few decisions that he made which may not have been the best, but he doesn't focus on them, giving the impression that his life has been a steady progression from the son of an immigrant laborer to an Hall-of-Fame ballplayer. There are, however, indications of less happy times. He mentions his job working in a shoe factory after dropping out of school and the off-season jobs he had to take even after he became a successful ballplayer in the years before multi-million dollar salaries.
Essentially a feel-good book, Berra's focus is on his own success. While the book will appeal to baseball fans, especially Yankees fans, Berra doesn't gossip much about other players. He tells a few stories about his teammates and other ballplayers, but those are notable exceptions rather than the rule. Nevertheless, the book never strays very far from the ballfields with Berra discussing everything from ballplayers as role models (only mentioning the positive ones) to the role of Little League. Interestingly, the National League only seems to exist as an opponent for the Yankees in the World Series.
Rather than solely focusing on his own past in baseball, Berra also looks to the present. He discusses the most recent Yankees-Mets Subway Series as well as the 2000 Presidential election. Berra is very much aware of the modern world and tries to apply his home-spun optimism to the new century. He manages too do this in a way that doesn't make him seem dated or cornball.
At only 175 pages, When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It! is a short book which can easily be enjoyed in single sitting or dipped into when the reader has only a few moments. Given the repetitive nature of the book, the latter may be a better way to read it. Berra's stories and style are entertaining. His philosophical musings and inspiration are all on the surface, yet don't interrupt the flow of the book. They are straight-forward enough to be easily assimilated by the reader while enjoying Berra's vignettes.
Purchase this book in from