This is the first of several recommended books I’ll be previewing for the upcoming summer of reading you only wish you had time to do.
As I was preparing several columns for Digital Dad that focused on good summer sports reads I found one that I had to feature now. If you have a child that’s about to play or is playing baseball, this novel is not only timely, but it reads like so many experiences we’ve had or are now having on Little League fields across the country.
Scott Gummer, the author of this, his first novel, Parents Behaving Badly, has intertwined the reality of what most of us parents experience during numerous games & seasons of youth sports, in combination with the everyday struggles a man has with midlife marriage.
The interesting thing about youth sports are the people/adults you share it with over the course of years your child spends participating. These events combined with the most ridiculous childish behavior displayed by adults is not only laugh out loud entertaining but so close to real that you’ll have no problem associating several book characters with a parent or two in your community.
Let’s take for example the coach of the team, Del Mann. There is one of these guys in just about every league where a kid signs up to play. He cheats at the draft, he asks kids that he deems unable to perform to deliberately get hit by pitches, he berates them, and he only cares about winning. Sound familiar?
Though much of this is common place and would hold very little entertainment value if it were not for the brilliant way Gummer creates an entertaining and hilarious dialogue of outrageous remarks that we all must admit we think about saying, but never dare say it. In other words, it’s a way to live through these characters rather than telling your neighbors how you really feel.
And of course this novel could not be complete if Gummer did not capture the midlife male crisis of fantasizing and lusting after the hottest single moms on the sidelines, and the affairs that occur in front of the entire town.
Unlike other youth sports books that rehash the issues, Parents Behaving Badly, takes a different approach of hitting upon the issues in a way where you forget the characters are fictional, because in reality they very much exist.
As you sit in your lawn chair or the bleachers watching others make fools of themselves, or even finding yourself doing the same, pick up Parents Behaving Badly, and find joy in laughing at your neighbors, or yourself.
Check out Scott Gummer’s other books at ScottGummer.com.