Friday, December 21, 2007

"Senior Year" Book Review

Hey, we even do book reviews on this site. Next thing you know, we'll be endorsing political candidates and hosting wine parties. Yeah Right!!!

It helps that the subject of this particular book is all about baseball and a father and son's trials and tribulations in the quest for a college scholarship. Sound familiar? Since many baseball families are probably scratching their heads about what to give Dad for his Holiday gift...we are going to make it a bit easier on you. Buy this book!

In his job as columnist for the Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy’s beat covers everything Red Sox and then some. Google him. He is a great sportswriter for the Globe. In Senior Year, Shaughnessy looks into his own backyard and chronicles a season in the life of his son, Sam, a talented and somewhat typical teenager who plays for the Newton North High School baseball team.

While it's not Pulitzer or even a Oprah book of the month material, it's a great family read and dad's and their son's will really connect with this real life memoir. Shaughnessy writes eloquently on a variety of family and male bonding moments that bring together and tear apart at the same time into the fabric of suburban American life. There is father-son relationship, player-coach-team chemistry, and an upscale, typical New England suburban community rallying around their high school sports. What separates this book from most sports autobiographies is Shaughnessy’s tell it like it is look at his own reality show family.

Sam, like most of your own sons, is a senior in high school and is regarded as a potential college athletic scholarship prospect. However, in the words of his mother, he is still a kid, and lackadaisically acts, reacts and plows around the house like one. As a teenager, Sam faces doubts about his baseball ability and experiences some minor, but crucial personality clashes with his coach. Off the field, he struggles a bit with his grades, and parental authority issues that bring to center stage his relationship with his family. Like many of our own lives growing up, it all ends well enough, but the road that got them there is as if someone was writing a book about our own lives. The showcases, camps and the roller coaster post games that turn from joy one game to agony the next are all a part of a good read from a great Boston Sportswriter. That alone, makes this story much more of a delight to read. It doesn't matter if a parent is high profile, middle class, or working class, we are all parents and this book shows how there are no classes when it comes to raising an athlete.

Shaughnessy shows his range in this book. He shifts his expertise as a writer of high profile, independent, spoiled athletes, to local, naive, dependent kids without missing a beat. He hits a homerun in his depiction of the sometimes chaotic life of a teen and his family...and, hit home when he describes throughout, how he, as a father, was constantly concerned throughout that senior year, for the well being of his son.

Get this's a great travel book and a easy read for the whole family.

RT Staff Note: We will be traveling ourselves next week, but the magic of the internet will allow us to post...but not on Christmas. Depending on our schedules, we may write some original posts, but also may re-visit some old repeats as well. And, be sure to show some of your family members our NLI lists, if your son is listed. They should get a kick out of that. Happy Holidays!!!
RT Staff

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