Monday, September 30, 2013

BookPastor >> "HomeRun" (Travis Thrasher)

This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on August 10th, 2013.


TITLE: Home Run: A Novel
AUTHOR: Travis Thrasher
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishers, 2013, (416 pages).

There is a price for success. For some, public accolades come with private sacrifices. For Cory Brand, he learns first hand that winning consistently at a high level is a great feeling and is often rewarding. The feeling of getting attention with rising fame; the feeling of being mobbed by fans; the feeling of getting easy interviews; and the constant happiness of being given headline news by the mass media. For one who has lived through a terrible childhood, especially in terms of his traumatic relationship with an abusive father, the success he has gained as a top baseball hitter accelerated not only his own career and stardom, it also gives him a bloated ego and a heightened sense of the world owing him a living. By filling an emptying inner self with outer fame and winning games, he realizes at a personal level that success can come at a great price.

Brand’s relationship with baseball begins at an early age. Growing up with an abusive father, he becomes infatuated with trying to make great hits at the balls coming at him. Once his talent was discovered, his rise to stardom is nothing less than spectacular. Just seeing how people cheer him on whenever he hits a homerun is sufficient adrenaline for the day. Unfortunately, one homerun is not enough. As his skills tank, so too his demand for more great runs he had previously experienced. He just loves the stadium cheer. He loves the limelight. He loves it when the whole world centers its attention on one man: Cory Brand. Unfortunately, fame like a narcotic, has its side effects. When the performance on the field fails to match his personal expectations, he finds self-gratification in imagining homeruns and great hits. Out of such a bad patch comes a bad personal call. Without controlling his temper, he lets out his frustration, hurting a young boy, not knowing that that boy is the adopted son of his younger brother, Clay.

As we all know, all it takes is one silly mistake, and people will easily forget the glorious past of the most cherished heroes. All the successful runs and the games won because of Cory Brand are suddenly forgotten. All the great smiles and proud looks are substituted with a Youtube viral video of the badly executed tantrum. For all his achievements, Cory Brand has set himself up for a major downfall. The rest of the book shows how Cory is able to recover and to be reinstated not only as a baseball player in recovery, but a new man, transformed by grace. Piece by piece, the author shows how Cory Brand rebuilds himself as a person; how he starts afresh by coaching junior league baseball; how he recovers from his addictions to alcohol; and how he make amends in his relationships with people, especially with Emma, the woman he ran away from after getting her pregnant with Tyler. 

Now made into a movie, this book is an inspirational that gives readers hope. It also shows us the power of faith and love. Just like Cory Brand, we all deserve a second chance at life. We all need to give one another chance to try again. The author goes much farther. He shows how the protagonist is given opportunities after opportunities, revealing to us in a very insightful way, that that is also how God is treating us. God gives us chances after chances, over and over again. Until we like Cory, get it, fully and perfectly. If you love baseball, this book will be a captivating read. If you do not like baseball, this book will make you want to learn a bit more about the sport. 

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by David C. Cook Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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