So I had to choose a book written by a celebrity for this week’s prompt and it doesn’t get much more famous David Duchovny to me, I mean he’s Fox freakin Mulder!
No? Just me then. Right. Well on with the show.
This isn’t David Duchovny’s first novel. He wrote an X-Files novelisation back in the day (Quake) that I quite enjoyed. He also wrote Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale which came out last year and I haven’t read but I think I’ll have to. Just look at that title!
Synopsis (from GoodReads)
Ted Fullilove, aka Mr. Peanut, is not like other Ivy League grads. He shares an apartment with Goldberg, his beloved battery-operated fish, sleeps on a bed littered with yellow legal pads penned with what he hopes will be the next great American novel, and spends the waning malaise-filled days of the Carter administration at Yankee Stadium, waxing poetic while slinging peanuts to pay the rent.
When Ted hears the news that his estranged father, Marty, is dying of lung cancer, he immediately moves back into his childhood home, where a whirlwind of revelations ensues. The browbeating absentee father of his youth is living to make up for lost time, but his health dips drastically whenever his beloved Red Sox lose. And so, with help from a crew of neighborhood old-timers and the lovely Mariana–Marty’s Nuyorican grief counselor–Ted orchestrates the illusion of a Sox winning streak, enabling Marty and the Red Sox to reverse the Curse of the Bambino and cruise their way to World Series victory. Well, sort of.
What I Loved
On the surface this seems a typical novel about baseball but it’s so much more. A romance, a father son reconciliation, a tale of arrested development it has it all. Baseball is the backdrop but definitely not the focus which is a distinction that a lot of authors seem to struggle with. So many novels with baseball as a background to the story don’t just leave it in the background. They overpower the reader with statistics and unimportant facts which can leave the book inaccessible to non-American audiences.
The characters are extremely well drawn, particularly Mariana – she initially seems like the typical quirky maniac pixie dream girl but then her character deepens to show her motivations. I found Ted a little irritating at first, but I have a feeling I was supposed to. Even though I’ve read his writing before, I was still genuinely surprised at how talented a storyteller Duchovny is.
What I Didn’t Love
It seems like such a small complaint but it’s a bit of a slow burner because Ted is such an unlikable whiny character, at least at first. The novel didn’t draw me in until his father and Mariana showed up.
My Rating: (4.5 / 5)