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33 Summers Hardcover – June 23, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Eloquent Books (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608602605
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608602605
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,140,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For so many kids growing up in America, chasing the dream of becoming a major league baseball player is usually a fleeting one; reality typically interferes with the dream by the end of high school. For one fictional character, Jack Mathis, his dream is realized, but at a high cost - a dysfunctional childhood with an overbearing and mean-spirited father who seemed to thrive on verbally abusing Jack's mom; and a substance abuse-filled playing career, with more demons than home runs.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Darren Pare does the impossible: he captures 33 summers in the life of a professional baseball player--Jack Mathis--in a mere 174 pages. The author has pared away any unnecessary details and weaves a story that gives the reader a good look at a young man's struggles to make it to the big leagues, and how nothing in his life can prepare him for the pressures and temptations that present themselves as he strives for the top. It's even harder when he has a couple of strikes against him, such as being raised by a father who should have taken an intensive course in anger management before he had kids, and having inner demons that fight to prevent him from living his dream. This highly emotional tale will move all baseball fans, and anyone who has lived life to its fullest, especially when one does it in the public eye. You won't be able to put it down once you start reading.
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Format: Hardcover
My husband and I got this book because we know the author, and even though I'm not a fan of baseball, the story behind the main character sounded interesting. It was a quick read, and once I start a book, I don't like to put it down, so I read it in one afternoon. The story behind Jackie was sad and I wanted to know at every page turn what was going to happen next. The author links all of the parts of Jackie's life with major occurrences in baseball, and with breaking news of the time period. It brought back memories of the Gulf War, Presidential races, and 9/11 among many others. I probably wouldn't have read this book for any other reason than we know the author, but I am glad I did, and recommend it highly!
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Format: Kindle Edition
What would you get if you took a fictional Josh Hamilton type of character, mix in a dark plot line ala Bad Blake from Crazy Heart, and set the entire story to a multi-decade timeline using both historical events and a musical sound track. You get a really good story by first-time author Darren L. Pare.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
33 Summers was a great, quick read. It is written in a non-traditional way: no chapters, double spaces throughout, not much dialog, a few missing words and typos. Once you get past that and focus on the story and character development it's definitely a great book that I'd recommend to any baseball fan. I especially liked the tie-ins and mentions of tons of non-fictional baseball history and his stories with the few people in his life he had a relationship with.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good way to view "33 Summers" might be as a memoir or autobiography of a professional baseball player named Jack Mathis. It has all the elements of these. Were it not fiction you might expect it would be a hot topic on ESPN or getting a mention during the sports segment on local TV news.

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.
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