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239 Reviews
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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Nicholas Sparks . . .
I am a voracious reader of literary fiction, and I am a fan of the works of Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult, etc. I enjoy the realism of these fictional portrayals of romance, redemption, tragedy, and love.
I was browsing through Jodi Picoult's works on Amazon one day, looking for a new book to keep me occupied on an upcoming business trip, and I noticed this book and...
Published on February 1, 2011 by Nom De Plume

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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story
Due to his job, Jack is away from the house about 12 hours a day. It doesn't leave him a lot of time to be with his family, something his wife complained about often enough. When his wife dies in a car accident, Jack discovers he really doesn't know his 7 year-old son, nor does he know how to be a parent. The book is about the struggle and mistakes Jack makes with his...
Published on April 21, 2011 by C. Thilmany


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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Nicholas Sparks . . ., February 1, 2011
This review is from: Broken Laces (Paperback)
I am a voracious reader of literary fiction, and I am a fan of the works of Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult, etc. I enjoy the realism of these fictional portrayals of romance, redemption, tragedy, and love.
I was browsing through Jodi Picoult's works on Amazon one day, looking for a new book to keep me occupied on an upcoming business trip, and I noticed this book and the great reviews it had received.
I was in the mood to try something new, and it was a good deal, so I ordered it.
I am glad I did.

I found the book enjoyable on many levels, and preferred Mr. Walther's writing style to Sparks' because of the readability and the ease of which he moves from scene to scene.
I found the characters to be interesting and believable, and I identified with Jack as he struggled to overcome the loss of a loved one, the challenges of fatherhood and coaching, and the every day struggles against his own flaws.

Rodney Walther is a skilled writer and I highly recommend this book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't wait to get back to it!, December 3, 2010
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This review is from: Broken Laces (Paperback)
Jack is a regular guy, okay a driven, self-involved, confident guy who takes for granted the dearest parts of his life--until the death of his wife punches home the reality of his vulnerability. I wanted to smack him, then comfort him, then smack him again. The shake-your-head irony of his struggle combined with his own self-effacing humor, never mind bravado, makes Jack character I won't forget. BROKEN LACES is a wonderful read!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story, April 21, 2011
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This review is from: Broken Laces (Paperback)
Due to his job, Jack is away from the house about 12 hours a day. It doesn't leave him a lot of time to be with his family, something his wife complained about often enough. When his wife dies in a car accident, Jack discovers he really doesn't know his 7 year-old son, nor does he know how to be a parent. The book is about the struggle and mistakes Jack makes with his son while dealing with his own grief. Jack hopes baseball, something he'd been very good at in his youth until his hand was injured, will bring him and his son together.

This book should appeal greatly to anyone who has been through little league or has a child who is playing. It will also grab many who lost a parent at an early age, or a spouse while raising a child. An excellent job has been done by the author in regards to the mistakes and misunderstandings that can happen between parent and child, especially involving grief or a parent's expectations of their young athlete. Jack struggles through a good portion of the book until finally reaching some realizations. The mistakes made are obvious to the reader, but then again, it's difficult to see the picture when you're standing in the middle of it. A large chunk of the book is devoted to baseball as this is Jack's passion.

I didn't have children, lose a parent at a young age or ever been involved in little league, so while a good read, I imagine the story doesn't have the same impact for me as it would otherwise. A good portion of the book deals with the struggle, which can get uncomfortable at times. A number of times I wanted to set the book aside and read something that didn't involve such emotional struggle, at least until 75% into the story when Jack starts seeing things differently. It's good to see Jack grow and become a better person and parent.

Assigning stars to this story is difficult for me. The problems Jack and his son face seem to be dead on for the type of person Jack is and what you'd expect them to be feeling. An excellent job was done on the main characters. For that and the writing itself, I would want to give it 5 stars. But I can't personally give that to a book that would have been easy for me to set aside. I will admit to being glad I read it and would prefer a rating of 3.5 stars.

Reviewed for Books and Chat
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jeff Dawson Author,Coach,Umpire Single Parent, December 28, 2010
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This review is from: Broken Laces (Kindle Edition)
I just finished reading the book. I was torn between a four star and five star review. I really understand who Jack is. I went back to the days of coaching and realized in my last year of coaching that life was taking its' toll. Divorced, single parent, and a struggling company. I had become " Jack" in that last season. I was being way to hard on the boys and my son. It finally boiled over in a game to the point one of the assistants called me out during the game. I realized it was time to step down and regroup. The next year I was a supporting fan and did not interfere with the coaches. It was humbling but gave me a chance to reflect and just watch my two sons and daughter just play the game for fun. Baseball taught me how to be a dad again and to just sit back and relax.

Reading about Melanie was very difficult as I lost my fiance in 2009 to cancer. Those memories are always there and never completely leave us. Thank you Rodney, I needed that healing. I will be re-reading those parts again and again.

I don't want to steal any attention from Mr. Walther, but I couldn't help but notice how this book and two I just put out are really tied in with each other. A Baseball Coaching Manual that puts the fun back into baseball and Gods Plan A Glimpse Into Ones Life. All three make a perfect trilogy.

In closing the lessons Mr. Walther brings to light are true life lessons, baseball is a timeless sport and teaches us the value of friends, family and God. Thank you for an excellent book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly engaging, December 10, 2010
This review is from: Broken Laces (Paperback)
Broken Laces starts with a bang. In the very first chapter, Jack Kennedy witnesses in his rearview mirror the horrific car accident that kills his wife. Before that terrible moment, Jack was the kind of guy we've all known, a successful businessman living the suburban American dream, a man whose work too often came before family. Now he's shattered, his young son is traumatized to the point of two-word sentences -- when he speaks at all -- and Jack is faced not only with single parenthood, but with the bewildering task of trying to gain the love of the boy he never really knew. The road ahead is something no parent should ever have to navigate. Jack stumbles along it in ways that make the reader sometimes hate him, sometimes love him, sometimes cringe, sometimes cheer, and sometimes literally cry. The author is a master at doing this to us, taking us on an emotional rollercoaster (pardon the mixed metaphors) and ultimately, thankfully, leaving us satisfied. People who like the stories of Nicholas Sparks will love Broken Laces. And people who like sports stories will be especially gratified because a key factor throughout the story, for both the highs and the lows, is baseball.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, easy read, May 15, 2012
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This review is from: Broken Laces (Paperback)
I purchased this book after reading the reviews on Amazon. I found this book to be an absorbing, easy read. Couldn't put it down. It's refreshing to read books that are "cleanly" written without all the language and graphic descriptions that so many writers seem to think is necessary. It's a great story about loss, family, baseball, and love. I could relate very well to the events.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great story of restoration!, May 14, 2012
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This review is from: Broken Laces (Kindle Edition)
Broken Laces had me hooked very early on and took me on an incredible journey of unexpected twist and turns.
I appreciated the reality and raw emotion of both Jack and Kellen's responses to the circumstances they found themselves in. The honesty of dealing with their grief and loss is challenging, yet I also found it refreshing. So often 'real' responses can be superficial or diminished with a rushed ending or 'get fixed quick' approach. I found Walther's exploration of the emotional and relational aspects of this story to be honest and authentic to the characters.
This is a story and writer I will recommend. Thanks :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surpassed expectations, February 17, 2012
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This review is from: Broken Laces (Paperback)
BROKEN LACES is a deftly constructed novel in the traditions of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picault. Author Rodney Walther ably executes a textbook story arc on which to display his ease with the subject matter.

Protagonist Jack Kennedy is met with monumental calamity and challenge upon the sudden death of his wife, mother of Kellen, his only child. Infected with the shallow suburban mentality that ranks hollow emblems of material success above solid investments on the personal side of the ledger, Jack is ill-equipped to cope with the needs of a motherless eight-year-old or deal with the domestic demands thrust upon him.

The father flounders in anger, confusion, and grief as the son alternates between rebellion and withdrawal. Flounder becomes struggle when Jack loses his job and Kellen is left without any sense of direction. The support of family and well-meaning friends is ineffectual at this point. As is the professional advice bought and paid for by a reluctant Jack and resisted by Kellen, who now manifests physical symptoms of his inability to process loss or accept the emotional distance from his surviving parent. Father and son appear to be permanent victims of happenstance and lack of connection until a series of events places them in a milieu in which their "broken laces" can be mended.

Although both father and son have adequate reason to shun baseball diamonds, that is where their gradual convergence begins--with Kellen overcoming his lack of innate ability and resultant indifference to the game, and Jack defeating an aversion that stems from his having squandered the talent he once had for the game. Nonbaseball fans and nonparents will be tempted to gloss over Walther's somewhat heavy-handed exposition in this portion of the book, but the story does not measurably suffer.

The introduction of a potential love interest in the persona of a female doctor who has enough spare time to conduct nature tours and umpire Little League baseball games, is a minor quibble. She simply is not believable. And the denouement is just a bit too pat--too predictable, but welcome nonetheless--a five-star recommendation nonetheless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but very American, October 8, 2011
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This review is from: Broken Laces (Kindle Edition)
A father loses a wife and boy loses his mother. A masterfully woven tale of how traditional roles and deep seated community values are challenged under tagic circumstance. A well put together novel, however the author has focussed vey much on middle America. Some of the nuances were difficult understand if the reader was not aware of baseball and how it is played in the US. Still worth a read though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming Father-Son Grief Tale, September 21, 2011
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This review is from: Broken Laces (Paperback)
As an author and a grief specialist, I am impressed by the author's ability to show how a tough, athletic male has suppressed his past pain and the anguish of his wife's death. Rodney takes us inside the not-so-neat-and-tidy-world of the first year of grief, which is frequently filled with impulsive decisions, mistakes, emotional swings, and unpredictability. Although this book appeals to a baseball enthusiast, it is not necessary for one to love baseball to enjoy this novel. What I love about Broken Laces is the message that a parent's devotion can prevail amidst incredible grief and heal the brokenness within...that those laces can be woven together again with enough care, attention, and love.
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Broken Laces
Broken Laces by Rodney Walther
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