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The Man with Two Arms: A Novel Hardcover – February 4, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Granville's father works obsessively to develop his talented son into a perfectly balanced thrower and hitter. This even-handed nurturing leads to a remarkably poised and controlled ball player whose ambidexterity builds upon itself to amplify his already formidable talents. Any lover of the national pastime will relish the descriptions of Granville's throwing motion, the flow of his swing, and his understanding of the art of the game.
Yet this tale is about more than baseball. As the playful title of the book alludes, "The Man with Two Arms" at first glance suggests a story of something superhuman, until read a second time when one realizes that it's merely describing a common human attribute through a lens that sees potential. Danny Granville's baseball balance may seem beyond our humble experience and grasp, but Lombardo suggests that achieving balance on and off the field leads to abilities that touch upon the mysteries of life.Read more ›
Although childhood was hours of daily pitching ambidextrously, Danny signs with the Cubs who demonstrates a right handed skill equal to Seaver and a left handed ability compared with Koufax. Cub opponents especially on the road call him the Freak and his father a monster. As Danny falls in love with art instructor Brigit and finds another rare skill that of clairvoyance which will soon change his life in New York during a series with the Mets, he begins to doubt the Major Leagues is worth the cost to his family and himself.
This is a super baseball story due to the strong characterizations as fans will believe Henry is a super switch-pitching "Freak" (no link to Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum except for both are great). The support cast, especially his family, Brigit, and his teammates and opponents augment the deep look at a young pitching phenomena who grew up with a baseball rather than a rattle.
I picked up "Arms" at the library after hearing some good local press about it. It represents the intersection of two of my favorite things this time of year - the city of Chicago and baseball - so I figured I'd be primed to enjoy it. The kernel of the plot is an intriguing one: A baseball-obsessed father resolves to methodically mold his son, from the time the child is born, into a switch-pitcher by following a nearly scientific regimen of ambidextrous living. The boy excels and ends up being drafted by the Chicago Cubs at age 18. He rockets through the Minors and instructional leagues in about six months, gets an invitation to spring training at the beginning of the next season, makes the club, and by the All-Star Break has a pristine record featuring only wins (and no-decisions for the games blown by the bullpen).
Does that start sounding a little far-fetched by the end there? Lombardo's characters live in the real world - he lovingly includes precise (if not always accurate... see below) details about Chicago establishments and geography - but the events of the novel are not portrayed in that realistic context. His characters are likable enough but aren't given much room to grow and remain fairly static throughout the 20-year progression of the book. The main conflict of "Arms" is basically a non-issue that makes you wonder, "Is that all?" when you finally get to it. The plot becomes increasingly fantastic and rushed as the novel progresses and includes a mystical element that ends up sounding like a goofy afterthought.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a very well-written book in a Sports setting. If you like to read fiction about athletes, you should read this.Published 4 months ago by Jeff Goelz
Billy Lombardo is one Americas best authors, i would recommend every one reads this books. There is so much to learn by reading it, he uses baseball to give you a different... Read morePublished on October 18, 2013 by Joseph M. Maurice
I was excited to see a Billy Lombardo book on a baseball in fiction display at the library. I've enjoyed his short stories (particularly How to Hold a Woman) and he's been... Read morePublished on July 19, 2011 by Kim Garvey
I do not really think this book was written by two different authors, but you are left with that impression at the end. Read morePublished on October 12, 2010 by Farmer John
I enjoy a good baseball yarn as much as the next guy, so I was intrigued by the premise of Billy Lombardo's debut novel, The Man With Two Arms, about a major league switch... Read morePublished on July 14, 2010 by J. Conrad Guest