Top positive review
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Better Than Any Baseball Book
on November 7, 2003
This book is not about baseball, and it is not a sequel to "A False Spring," which was a classic in its own right. It is also not about dogs, cigars, fast cars or South Florida, although all of those things figure prominently in the book. Instead, "A Nice Tuesday" is a deeper, fuller portrait of an unusually talented guy living out his life as best he can despite a nagging feeling that he has failed.
That may not sound particularly interesting, but Pat Jordan himself is a far better subject than 99% of the atheletes he usually writes about. He is an intelligent guy, with a wide range of interests. His writing captures that struggle we all go through of being able to perceive our shortcomings and only have limited success trying to change them. But, at least he does try. In this book, he's completely unafraid to reveal himself through his writing.
Beyond this, Jordan is a very skilled writer. He has a great sense of judgment as to what will capture and keep the reader's attention. He doesn't abuse this gift by lingering on his stories too long. There are dozens of memorable scenes and vignettes in this book, but it does not come off as being choppy or disorganized. The connections make sense to Jordan, and he convinces the reader that they should make sense.
Although this is non-fiction, the book "A Nice Tuesday" resembles most closely is "The World According to Garp" by John Irving. I mean that as a compliment; Garp is one of my favorite books of all time. For me, the similarities are in how Jordan and Garp are both fascinating individuals who have improbable life experiences -- much more interesting than the rest of us -- develop a unique way of looking at life, surround themselves with unusual, even quirky companions and still manage to come off as average guys. Just as John Irving novels have wrestling, dancing bears, New England prep schools and scenes in Vienna, Austria, Pat Jordan's life has baseball, dogs, cigars and Florida. We can relate to these elements, but the books are more than the sum of the elements. Neither Irving's novels nor Jordan's memoir are about these things. They just give the writer an excuse to display talent, skill and a unique way of looking at the world.
"A Nice Tuesday" also conveys Jordan's sense of inevitable doom -- this obviously comes from the heart -- which reminds me of the "Under Toad" in Garp. Jordan knows that he always drives the people he loves away from him, but can't figure out why and can't seem to stop the process. How honest and uncommon to admit this secret fear that so many of us have.
A Nice Tuesday is an excellent choice for any adult reader, male or female, young, middle aged or old. It has humor, insight and poignancy. It is much more rewarding than any sports book I have ever read and should not be cheapened by that label. It would have been just as good a book if he had not pitched in the minor league game.