cover image TEN ON SUNDAY: The Secret Life of Men

TEN ON SUNDAY: The Secret Life of Men

Alan Eisenstock, . . Atria, $24 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-4214-5

The premise of this book—a group of men have a weekly basketball game that anchors their lives—is so wholesome and therapeutic, it's easy to go into it with a jaded eye. But that won't last for long, since Eisenstock's account is surprisingly unsentimental. A veteran TV writer (Sanford and Son; What's Happening!; etc.), Eisenstock, like many other Los Angelenos of means, moved his family out of the city and up to Santa Monica soon after the Rodney King riots. At his palatial new spread, he realizes a long-festering dream: to have a basketball hoop like he had at his childhood home back East. As it's a crime to let a hoop go unused, Eisenstock assembles an informal pickup game of 10 guys every Sunday that quickly evolves into something much greater. The game becomes the place where these men—almost exclusively white, affluent and professional—can come and, in short, monosyllabic style, of course, talk about their lives with someone besides their spouses or therapists. Months turn into years, and the game becomes an almost-sacrosanct institution that these men plan their weeks around. Befitting his background in TV writing, Eisenstock has an ear for fast, punchy dialogue and quickly capturing a mood. There's little sermonizing about what this guys' coffee klatch ultimately means, but when the game finally comes to a close, there's no doubt the players will miss their weekly ritual. Agent, Wendy Sherman. (May)