This came up as suggested reading in my Kindle Unlimited account. I was anticipating a story of a mother shadowing her son’s career as a professional baseball player, from the early years playing as a child to the Major Leagues. In a sense, that’s what this is. However, it’s also so much more.
Jill is a single mother of a young son at the start of the book. She has showered Gus with everything she loves in the arts and literature. To her surprise, on Career Day at school he declares he’s going to be a professional baseball player when he grows up. Jill has never watched baseball in the house and doesn’t know how he even knows what it is.
Their journey together begins, as she is reluctantly cajoled to help him learn to play baseball. Their first attempts with a wiffle ball end with a broken bat – most of us have been there. Soon she is navigating the world of Little League and the “politics” that goes along with it. She is taking him to batting cages and learning about the game along with him.
The author, Heather Choate Davis, does a great job through the first part of the book showing us Jill’s journey with Gus by herself. In the back of my mind, there was always a question of his father, but it didn’t come up in their journey together. Once he is introduced to the storyline, it all comes together. The story is one of four people whose hopes and dreams surround the game of baseball and how their lives play out with the information they are given.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in just two days to see how it ended. We are given something of an ambiguous ending to the story, but it’s an uplifting note that their lives are left on. I felt like I was right there along with Jill and the others, rooting for Gus and at the same time worrying about what was right in each situation. How does someone decide how much is right to let go in a situation. Jill doesn’t completely understand the ramifications of actions such as throwing a curve ball at a young age, but is it right to stop him from doing it when these pre-teen and teen years may be the only time he has to shine? It’s a quandry as a parent of any athlete or dancer.
At the same time, I related to Gus. I was that kid in a family where no one watched sports. I was the one who found baseball on television on my own and taught myself the rules. My parents wouldn’t even try to enroll me in Little League as it “wasn’t something girls do” at the time; yet I remember clinging to the backstop fencing watching my male friends play the game. There was nothing I enjoyed more at that age then walking over to the schoolyard where they played and watching them. I have been a Mets fan my whole life and found out in later years that baseball was, indeed, in my blood.
The Pitcher’s Mom is a fairly light read that’s easy to get through, even for those who aren’t a fan of baseball. It’s great for any parent who has supported their child’s hopes and dreams, not knowing what the outcome will be.