Title: Home, Away
Author: Jeff Gillenkirk
Publication Year: 2010
Source: Review copy through the LibraryThing EarlyReviewers program
From the cover:
How much is a father’s love worth? Jason Thibodeaux has a $42 million contract to pitch for the Colorado Rockies and a romantic bachelor lifestyle when the son he lost in a searing custody battle reappears in his life. Home, Away follows Thibodeaux’s colorful rise to the pinnacle of Major League Baseball and his agonized decision to quit in the prime of his career to care for his troubled son. Their evolving relationship and resulting confrontations — on the baseball field and off — test the limits of loyalty and the meaning of fatherhood itself.
I originally requested this book through the EarlyReviewers program because it looked interesting: I tend to love books about troubled kids, and I also love the game of baseball. It was something I grew up with as a kid, playing softball and watching the major leagues with my parents (mostly my dad).
What I liked the most about Home, Away was how it flipped the usual parent/child dynamic found in my most books, by focusing on the father rather than the mother. There simply aren’t that many books that focus on teen characters and single dads who actually want to be around and try to get custody of their kids over the mother. And so this was a nice change, and that part of the story was really fleshed out well: Jason’s character was believable and I found myself frustrated as a reader sympathizing with him.
Some of the other aspects of the book, though, seemed a little too contrived. Most of the bits that felt this way for me were about the baseball part of the story – often, it felt as though something was happening just to move the story forward, and it was hard to believe that it would normally have happened that way. This wasn’t really a hindrance to enjoying the book, though, just something that I had to ignore.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. You might, too, if you like reading about troubled teens, family dynamics, sports, or parenting.