Friday, October 11, 2013

Blog Tour: The Pitcher by William Hazelgrove

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The Pitcher
“I never knew I had an arm until this guy called out, “Hey you want to try and get a ball in the hole, sonny?” I was only nine, but mom said, “come on, let’s play.” This Carney guy with no teeth and a fuming cigarette hands me five blue rubber balls and says if I throw three in the hole we win a prize. He’s grinning, because he took mom’s five bucks and figures a sucker is born every minute. That really got me, because we didn’t have any money after Fernando took off, and he only comes back to beat up mom and steal our money. So I really wanted to get mom back something, you know, for her five bucks.”

A boy with a golden arm but no money for lessons. A mother who wants to give her son his dream before she dies. A broken down World Series pitcher who cannot go on after the death of his wife. These are the elements of The Pitcher. A story of a man at the end of his dream and a boy whose dream is to make his high school baseball team. In the tradition of The Natural and The Field of Dreams, this is a mythic story about how a man and a boy meet in the crossroads of their life and find a way to go on. You will laugh and you will cry as The Pitcher and Ricky prepare for the ultimate try out of life.

Ricky is 9 years old when he learns that he has a great arm for pitching, which he's excited about because he doesn't feel like he's good at very much. He's now 14 and practices in front of his house with his friend Joey. He plays on a city team and his arm is pretty wild and he needs to learn control. His mother doesn't have money to pay someone to coach him so she looks on the internet for tips to help him. She does enlist the help of the Pitcher who lives across the street from them. He's a former major league baseball pitcher named Jack Langford who won the World Series in 1978. He now lives in his garage, smoking, drinking and watching baseball games all day. He's not interested in helping Ricky and his mother out, though.

Ricky's mom, Maria, is quite the character. She's not afraid of anyone and is willing to do whatever she needs to in order to help her son. The first thing she would ask her son is if he was breathing and I had to laugh, because when my kids get frustrated while doing something, the first thing I tell them is to relax and take a deep breath, so I personally think that's great advice! Ricky deals with prejudice, especially from Eric, the pitcher on his baseball team who is jealous of Ricky's arm. He also has to deal with a father who comes over when he needs money and treats him and his mother poorly. His life is pretty rough and Maria does the best she can to help him become a better man than his father and give him the opportunity to be successful in life.

This book was interesting but seemed a little slow to me in places. And warning: there is a lot of language in this book! While the author doesn't technically drop F-bombs, instead he does this: f--- and motherf----- (literally uses lines in place of the letters). He also uses g__d___ quite a bit (that word is spelled out), along with other, milder swear words. The language does fit the characters but it was a little much for my taste.

My Rating=3 stars

Author William Hazelgrove
William Hazelgrove is the best selling author of five novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks Mica Highways and Rocket Man and The Pitcher His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man due out May 1, 2013 was chosen Book of the Year by Books and He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. A forthcoming novel, The Pitcher will be out Sept 1, 2013. He lives in Chicago.

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/27/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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