THE WAY HOME: Scenes from a Season, Lessons from a Lifetime
A few years ago, Dunow, a New York literary agent, noticed that he wasn't connecting as he hoped with his son, Max, then five. Was Dunow repeating the pattern of alienation that marred his relationship with his own adored father? To grow closer to Max, the author decided to coach his son's Little League team. This affecting memoir, Dunow's first book, interweaves an account of a year spent coaching with memories of Dunow's growing up in a family headed by a Polish Jewish immigrant father, a Yiddish writer who was left cold by both sports and those who played it. The Little League passages, detailing Dunow's struggles to cohere his generally untalented team, as well as to cope with another coach with a more aggressive approach, veer between the amusing and the sentimental while expressing convincingly Dunow's love of baseball and his regard for the boys in his charge. More memorable than Dunow's bonding with his son is his reaching out to a troubled boy whose father has died recently. It's as if the extremity of the boy's plight draws out the writing talent in Dunow—a phenomenon repeated in the more successful portion of the book, dealing with Dunow's father. Moishe Dluznowsky comes across as a larger-than-life character—cantankerous, stubborn, immensely proud—and Dunow's prose takes on an intensity and passion when describing him that's occasionally lacking elsewhere. This involving, heartfelt book will appeal especially to fathers. (June)
Forecast: An obvious bet for Father's Day sales, this title will be supported by national advertising, including a radio phoner campaign, and should do respectably.