Sunday, July 12, 2009

Safe At Home by Richard Doster

Here we are, in the midst of summer, after the 4th of July holiday. What could be more American that baseball? The great all-American pastime of summer is the subject of Richard Doster's award winning novel... well as a dark time in America's history.

"Safe At Home" tells the story of the Whitney Bobcats, a minor league baseball team in a small southern town. They've been a mainstay to Whitney for decades, but now the franchise is in danger.

Ticket sales are down because it seems everyone would rather devote time to "I Love Lucy" than to their beloved Bobcats. Sportswriter Jack Hall can't stand the thought of baseball being no more, so he comes up with a plan to keep the team going and to boost ticket sales.

Sign a stellar baseball player, Percy Jackson. He can catch, throw, hit, and play ball like nobody's business. One problem, though...

...Percy Jackson is black.

Set in the summer of 1953, the topic of segregation and integration gripped our nation and no one knew which way the tide would turn. Richard Doster paints a vivid portrait of one of the richest and in some ways darkest periods in America's history.

The anger radiates off the pages, but so does the hope, the passion...and the legacy left by men and women like these fictional characters. I will warn you...the language may be offensive to some.

But it is authentic and necessary to tell the tale that needs to be told. I was gripped by this story, and I don't even like baseball! But my heart broke for the young men and women who just wanted to do what they did best, and those who fought for their right to do it.

I'm looking forward to Richard's sequel, "Crossing the Lines", which is on my shelf. We need to remember our history in order to keep from repeating it, and sometimes story is the best vehicle to remind us of where we've come from.

And just how far we still may need to go. I'm giving "Safe At Home" four out of five bookmarks with a signed baseball as a charm. Don't miss this's a home run for shore!

Happy Reading!


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Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Great review Deena! This one looks fascinating.

Liz said...

I'm not a big sports fan, but some novels that feature sports, for lack of a better word, can be just lovely to read. This one sounds like one of those. Golf is featured in this historical novel, Shooting an Albatross" by Steven Lundin. It's set in 1943, in Hollywood, when the Army took (I guess occupied is the word) a golf course there. But you don't have to be a golf fiend to love the book -- you've got your romance, your suspense, your passion and jealousy, even your psychological thriller element to keep you turning the pages. (And it's based on truth, which I always like.)