The Eskimo Slugger by Brad Boney ~ Book Review by Lirtle

It’s 1983 and Culture Club and Stray Cats, Modern English, George Brett, record stores and garage apartments. I’m in!

Eskimo Slugger cover Title: The Eskimo Slugger

Author: Brad Boney

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Rating: 4.25 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

It’s the summer of 1983, and Trent Days is Major League Baseball’s rookie sensation. Born in Alaska to an Inupiat mother, the press have dubbed him the Eskimo Slugger, but a midseason collision at home plate temporarily halts his meteoric rise to the top.

Sent back to Austin to recuperate, Trent visits his favorite record store, Inner Sanctum, where he meets amiable law student Brendan Baxter. A skip in the vinyl of New Order’s “Blue Monday” drives Trent back to Brendan, and their romance takes them into uncharted territory.

As Trent’s feelings move from casual to serious, he’s faced with an impossible dilemma. Does he abandon any hope of a future with Brendan and return to the shadows and secrets of professional sports? Or does he embrace the possibility of real love and leave baseball behind him forever? As he struggles with his decision, Trent embarks on a journey of self-discovery—to figure out who he really is and what matters most.

Lirtle’s View:

Trent Days is twenty four when he meets Brendan Baxter, also twenty four. Both are trying to make progress in their lives and (somewhat) chosen fields, major league baseball and lawyer, respectively.

The beginning is heavy on detail while setting things up, baseball and otherwise. It does well, though, in giving a natural feeling to the pace of the story, how things progress between Trent and Brendan. It’s a relaxed feel, lounging and smiling were my usual states of being while reading. It fits the time and place, that being 1983 near Austin, Texas.

Following on that point, there is an ever present layer of unease that hangs around like a cloudy winter afternoon. The juxtaposition of this cool mist in a hot place makes it unavoidable but not overbearing. The level of fear informs many daily decisions, including by Trent and Brendan. As much as things have changed and gotten better, this is still a reality for many people. This is a highly relevant and relatable story thirty years from the time it takes place. Despite that ever present shadow of uncertainty, this writer gave me beautiful, candid and humorous characters that are every one of us. The heart is screaming for reality to catch up already.

”Isn’t it weird, the way everything we do has a ripple effect?”

That speaks volumes for then and now, turned up to eleven. We all cause ripple effects, many of them good. Holding hands is a personal ripple between two people and shouldn’t be treated as if the world just shifted on its axis. Keep screaming, heart, soon the world will listen and chill out.

The dialogue is realistic and works rather well in painting the personalities of the characters. There are long passages, however, without much in the way of atmosphere, mood or any other indicators of how everyone is feeling during these conversations. As the reader, I don’t know exactly the attitude behind the words. Is someone exasperated? Sly? Shy? Sarcastic? I did get used to this aspect of the writer’s style and things smoothed out, especially when I kept in mind these are two 24-yr old guys. In this sense, the frenetic space in which their lives exist at the moment is well portrayed.

There is one character that makes some decisions and has some reactions that, yes they can and do happen, but didn’t ring one hundred percent true to me, given what we are told. That one had me tilting my head to the side, wondering. Maybe if he’d been given more page time, more of his puzzle would have been filled in.

Sweet and vulnerable mixed with passionate and determined. All surrounded by outside forces of ignorance, save a few oases of acceptance and understanding. This is a very personal story. I didn’t want to leave it. The truth is more easily shared over a meal. Those self-erected barriers seem to disappear. Hearts, ideas, beliefs and desires get their turns to breathe and be free. Hope is given body and soul here in this book.

Philosophy. Yup, got some philosophy. I ended up highlighting every word over several pages. Loved it. LOVED. IT. And when you add humor to the mix, well, they’re a match made around the campfire, aren’t they? Any time we discuss the philosophical, we all realize it’s all so much larger than all of us. Humility. Then recognizing that humility. Then, bonding over that realization because we all share it. Get ready for Quincy. He’s one of the most interesting supporting characters I’ve come across in quite a while.

I love this book.

He realized now he was only half a person then, secretive and guarded, never fully himself with anyone.

This is the place from which both Trent and Brendan work to escape. Along the way, there are discoveries, first times, lessons learned and knowledge gained. Oh and some kissing. And holding hands. And knees brushing. And much more. 😉

Part of me wishes we’d get more of these two, maybe even thirty years into the future. The other part of me likes the story right where it ends, with so many great possibilities. Enjoy. 😀

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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10 thoughts on “The Eskimo Slugger by Brad Boney ~ Book Review by Lirtle

    • Hey Maggie *waves* 😀
      I haven’t read that one yet but have heard awesome things about it. This was actually my first read of Brad’s. It won’t be the last, though! 😉

  1. Great review Lirtle! I really liked The Nothingness of Ben and The Return so I’m looking forward to this one. Based on your review I think you’d definitely should read them.

    • Ok, that’s two for two in favor, I’ll definitely have to read it. I’m so glad you liked the others and feel this will be just as enjoyable. It was so well written.

  2. Hey Denise, this was the first time for me reading something by him, as well. A pretty darn excellent intro to his stories, I must say. 😀
    And you’re welcome.

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