Happy Opening Day of Baseball! Okay, that was yesterday for most baseball fans, but my favorite team’s game got delayed until today, so for me today is Opening Day. What team might you ask? Pittsburgh Pirates. My household is a Pittsburgh everything fan (except college basketball, that will only ever be Syracuse). The season will be strange this year without our favorite player, Andrew McCutchen. He was sent to the Giants. Great player with a big heart and strong faith. He’s one of those players that you don’t mind if your kid looks up to him. That why we were so mad when Pittsburgh said adios. But, that’s the name of the game.
I recently read Billy Coffey’s new book and thought I would share it in honor of the start of the official baseball season. Although I had some mixed feelings about the book, I overall enjoyed it. I saw my town mentioned in the book more than once – I live in Cooperstown for those wondering, home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. That was pretty wild. Although this is a book about growth, both as a man and spiritually, I have to say I’m not sure that readers who are not baseball fans will totally enjoy it. There is a lot of baseball in it (which I love), and I realize it’s not for everyone. But I do encourage you to give it a shot. You may just find out that the story is good enough to let the baseball part of it go.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Owen Cross grew up with two loves: one a game, the other a girl. One of his loves ruined him. Now he’s counting on the other to save him.
Owen Cross’s father is a hard man, proud in his brokenness, who wants nothing more than for Owen to succeed where he failed. With his innate talents and his father’s firm hand guiding him, Owen goes to college with dreams of the major leagues—and an emptiness full of a girl named Micky Dullahan.
Owen loved Micky from the first time they met on the hill between their two worlds: his middle-class home and her troubled Shantytown. Years later he leaves her for the dugouts and the autographs, but their days together follow him. When he finally returns home, he discovers that even peace comes at a cost. And that the hardest things to say are to the ones we love the most.
From bestselling author Billy Coffey comes a haunting story of small-town love, blinding ambition, and the risk of giving it all for one last chance.
I had mixed feelings about this book. I happen to love baseball, so I thought the design of the book was intriguing. Instead of chapters we had innings of one single game, full of memories from Owen’s past. At times I did find it difficult to keep my “head in the game” so to speak because I was so caught up in things of the past. I think if I wasn’t a baseball fan, some of the chapters may have bored me a little. But seeing the game recounted, seeing the names of players I recognize, and seeing the name of my hometown mentioned more than once made me connect with the book in a whole new way.
Billy Coffey has a unique writing style in spreading the gospel to his readers. Instead of just coming at you direct, he writes in a way where you kind of have to read between the lines. I think this opens the doors for non-believers to enjoy his books as well, hopefully without them sounding too preachy. While I may have been upset with the direction he took Micky’s character, it was really my own issue, not one that would criticize his writing ability. I expected her to stay strong, and when she seemed to be heading in the direction of a bad influence in her life I was left scratching my head. The big mystery about what happened to Micky was kind of referred to, but I felt like I had to fill in the blanks as well. While I do enjoy adding my own things to books, I didn’t feel this was an area I wanted to do that in – I wanted the author to tell me.
That being said, I did like the book for the most part. I liked seeing Owen come of age, and how he grew into a man. I liked seeing the important parts of his childhood which explained why he was in his current state of mind. Most importantly, I loved seeing his love for Micky. He did not allow society to dictate if their friendship was acceptable or not, which put a huge smile on my face. There are a lot of good messages woven into this tale of baseball, love, faith, and the ability to move on.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Billy Coffey’s critically acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Visit him at www.billycoffey.com. Facebook: billycoffeywriter Twitter: @billycoffey