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It’s the summer of 1983, and Trent Days is Major League Baseball’s rookie sensation. Born in Alaska to an Inupiat mother, the press have dubbed him the Eskimo Slugger, but a midseason collision at home plate temporarily halts his meteoric rise to the top.
Sent back to Austin to recuperate, Trent visits his favorite record store, Inner Sanctum, where he meets amiable law student Brendan Baxter. A skip in the vinyl of New Order’s “Blue Monday” drives Trent back to Brendan, and their romance takes them into uncharted territory.
As Trent’s feelings move from casual to serious, he’s faced with an impossible dilemma. Does he abandon any hope of a future with Brendan and return to the shadows and secrets of professional sports? Or does he embrace the possibility of real love and leave baseball behind him forever? As he struggles with his decision, Trent embarks on a journey of self-discovery—to figure out who he really is and what matters most.
I am going to start off by saying though this is not listed as a series, if you want to get the full effect of this story, read The Nothingness of Ben and The Return first. It adds to the layers, the inside jokes and just the creative beauty that Brad Boney weaves into a story. Sure, this could be read as a stand alone, but I don’t advise it.
“Isn’t it weird, the way everything we do has this ripple effect?”
Trent Days is the Eskimo Slugger, the nickname given to him as he is from Alaska and is on the track for the Rookie of the Year award as catcher for the Houston Astros. Together with his best friend and pitcher, Keiran Harrison they are a dream team that is until Trent takes a beating over home plate and ends up on the disabled list. He takes some time off of baseball and the Eskimo Slugger circus and heads home to Austin where he walks into the record store and life of one Brendan Baxter.
Is their meeting, chance or fate? Well, if you’ve read the first two books I mentioned, you know the answer to that question. We know from The Return what happens to Trent and Brendan but we don’t know their story but as with all good stories, we get sucked into theirs fast with this.
“We’re not in a book, Trent. We’re a short story, and a bittersweet one at that. We might as well embrace it.”
I loved reading this, knowing what I already know. It sounds like I am talking in riddles and maybe I have spent too much time on the page with Quincy but the knowledge from meeting Ben and Travis and Stanton and his Christopher just made this so layered and so bittersweet. The small what I call “inside jokes” were like a scavenger hunt. Some were easy to spot and others hit me on the head at least four paragraph after I read them. The foot rubs, Tony, Dime Box, Mrs. Manning, the naming of the Walsh children and so much more. I loved it, just adored how it was all put into this and as much fun as I had reading it, I am sure they author had a blast writing it – putting all these in there for his readers to find.
Because time isn’t linear. Like all the poets tell us, the past, present and future exist simultaneously in every moment.
Now, while I knew the fate of these boys and it weighed heavy on my heart, it was still lovely to see them meet and fall in love. To learn who and what was important in their lives and that this really was just the beginning. The beginning, the middle, the end and the beginning all over again. Goodness. It’s hard to explain if you aren’t familiar with the series but this book, these books make you think. They made me think and I adore authors that do that; who take me into the story and make me question… things. Issues. Philosophy and the what if’s of our world. Yeah, this was a really good book.
There is such a fondness for geography in these books as Austin and Texas in general are such a focal point of these stories. It’s as if Mr. Boney has written a love story for these places inside his love story of two men. It comes through clearly, it shines and it makes me want to see the big bright stars at night in Texas. Okay, I admit to Googling places in Austin for many reasons but, you know. Oh and the music, again, while not as out in front and important as with The Return, I think Mr. Boney has ravaged my vinyl collection for these stories and I love the heck out of him for it!
The Eskimo Slugger was again, a bittersweet story about two boys falling in love under not so great circumstances and doing what they must to stay together. For some, the philosophy of the context may be challenging to beliefs but if you put your trust in the author; that he knows what he is doing, this is a beautiful love story.
As Trent lay waiting to fall asleep, Brendan’s words came back to him:
“There’s no ways we can ever be together.”
In the piercing stillness of a summer night, Trent made a vow. He would find a way. Trent would find a way to prove Brendan wrong.