by Donald Provance, Jr.
Author Reputation Press

"I definitely realized something really big—that no matter how much you didn’t want it to be, a lot of times life was just really pretty confusing."

This wonderful story is described mostly in baseball terms and ethics. The main character, Jimmy, is the son of Lew and Sally. He has an excellent memory, and he guides the reader on a descriptive path that begins at his birth. Even from only a few minutes after birth, he describes his experiences of learning to breathe, bond with his mother, and take nourishment in terms of being on the home field. As a small child, Jimmy tries to retrieve a ball that has gone under the family's car. So engrossed is he in trying to reach the ball that he stays under the vehicle, even as the engine is switched on. Sally takes her son to the hospital, and Lew disappears for nine years. Jimmy recuperates well enough to walk and participate in competitive Little League. In 1969, when Jimmy is twelve, his father returns after serving two terms in Vietnam and then drifting for three additional years.

The baseball theme emphasizes teamwork and fair play, correct and incorrect ways to play sports, as well as how to live life. For example, when Lew reappears, the confusion that everyone feels is mitigated by Jimmy's coach (Sally's love interest), who encourages the divorced couple to examine how they feel about each other. The teaching continues as the coach explains to Jimmy that he doesn't want to "win" Sally by default. Whatever is to happen, it should be real and earned fairly. Friends, mostly teammates plus some significant others, fill out this truly enjoyable tale of a boy's life. The author also contrasts Lew with other characters. For instance, Lew, who cannot forgive himself for supposedly "ruining his son's life," cannot see "the game" through. However, Jimmy, Sally, and their friends can deal with life, as they're grounded in situations and their feelings for one another.

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