Back When Baseball Truly Was America's Game
Baseball is America’s pastime and one of the most recognizable trademarks of the country. In Stealing Home, Allison Pittman takes America’s game and shows readers the history of the sport, back when men played the game because they enjoyed it. This was a time before multi-million dollar contracts and the shadow of drug use. This was a time when “Take Me Out to Ball Game” was how people lived.
The book is set up like a baseball game. There are nine sections in the book, like nine innings in the game. The headings of each section correspond to different actions that take place during a game. It’s a very creative yet subtle way to bring the book to life.
The characters in this story reach out to you and the reader immediately becomes attached to them. There is Duke, the baseball player who comes to a small town with a hidden secret. Ellie Jane is the town spinster who harbors a sad past. Ned is an injured man who has a secret love. Morris is a young African American boy who dreams about leaving town for bigger things. These four characters initially all keep to themselves until Duke comes to Picksville and initiates a chain of events that puts the ball into play. All these characters find their lives intertwined and are connected through events in this book.
Pittman weaves the game throughout the story with new stories, telegrams and letters to begin each section. You can almost hear the crack of the bat and the cheers of the crowd as you read. She really brings to life the small town of Picksville and its inhabitants.
I did not find anything offensive or immoral in the story. There is talk about alcohol addiction as well as racial violence but both subjects are handled tastefully.
The story is engaging and was a delight to read. Every umpire would say that Pittman has definitely hit a home run with this book.
Stealing Home by Allison Pittman is published by Multnomah (2009)