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33 Summers Hardcover – June 23, 2009
2016 Book Awards
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Top Customer Reviews
As the Mathis character is looking back on "33 summers", he is bringing to life many broader memories; some good and some bad; but mostly, vivid, as our culture gradually transformed over the decades. In the end, baseball is still an American dream, but the harsh realities of everyday life often disrupt the happy endings.
33 Summers is a baseball novel. But make no mistake, the book is more about family relationships (mostly dysfunctional), disappointments, personal turmoil and regret. It follows talented player Jack Mathis from his earliest baseball memories playing little league in the 70s through college and pro ball all the way to the book's surprise ending on Opening Day 2008.
The book, which is told in the first person narrative style, starts with Jack's first memories of playing catch with his father, himself a frustrated jock.
"Jackie, if you listen to me, we can go all the way to the majors," he would say. "I can see you in pinstripes now."
The foreshadowing of an overbearing father figure combined with a submissive, but loving mother create a toxic familial environment for Jack as he grows up. Jack struggles with shyness, relationship problems, and drug and alcohal problems while, at the same time, rocketing through the college ball at Mississippi State all the way to the big leagues.
During his pro stint, Jack struggles mightly to overcome his personal challenges. His talents are diminished and, not surprisingly, he is shuttled between moribund teams Royals, Rays, Mariners, and Brewers. At each stop, his "potential" label opens another door only to have his personal demons kick it closed.
One of the devices Pare uses in Summers is a historical timeline.Read more ›
Each chapter covers a year in Jack's life. The emphasis is on baseball, the only way Jack can connect with his abusive father. His perception of each year is colored by his own performance on the ball field and the success (or lack thereof) of his beloved Yankees. The real lessons to be learned from "33 Summers" do not, however, have much to do with baseball. With his dysfunctional family lacking in examples of how to live his life Jack looks to happenings in the world, trying unsuccessfully to learn from the mistakes of others. He provides object lessons in the dangers of obsession or lack of balance in life. He shows us why friends and family matter. And last, he takes us on one heck of a ride.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book because I like baseball and it was inexpensive. My expectations weren't very high. Read morePublished on December 15, 2010 by J. Ertel
This is an amazing novel. Darren L. Parre takes us through 33 years in the life of Jack Mathis. As a boy Jack dreamed of becoming a baseball player. Read morePublished on November 5, 2010 by beezee
This was a good book about a baseball player who is also an alcoholic and drug addict. The author takes us through each year of the athlete's life, giving great backgound about... Read morePublished on September 2, 2010 by kindle addict
I am usually a romance reader, or a bit of suspense. 33 Summers was a bit out of my box but after having bought the Kindle, I discovered that I had so many more options that I... Read morePublished on August 26, 2010 by Lucinda Dunn