Throw Like a Woman by Susan Petrone
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Forty years old, divorced, with two sons on the verge of adolescence and an ex-husband who considers visitation to be optional, Brenda Haversham isn’t having a whole lot of fun. She’s also no longer qualified for the work she loves, so she’s working in a cubicle instead while trying to make ends meet.
Brenda is short on money, short on connection with her kids, and short on any kind of social life. The only thing Brenda has in abundance is her anger. And that turns out to be her greatest asset.
When she was a kid, Brenda’s father taught her how to throw a good fastball. That wasn’t of much use to a girl, but it is enough to astound onlookers at a “test your speed” pitching cage before a Cleveland Indians game. The more Brenda pictures her ex-husband’s face on the other end, the harder she throws. And when someone tapes her performance and puts it up online, Brenda becomes an Internet sensation – and then more than that.
Soon, the Indians come calling and Brenda finds her life taking a turn in a new direction. She finds herself standing on the mound as the first woman player in Major League history – and dealing with everything that comes with it. The money is great and the endorsement deals are even better. The fury of “traditionalists,” not so much. And the conflicting emotions of her teammates are even harder to manage.
Meanwhile, Brenda’s home life is evolving faster than she can keep up, redefining her role as a mother, a friend, and even a lover.
As the season winds down Brenda will find out if she has what it takes to be a winner – at both baseball and life.
A funny, poignant, and endearing debut from a writer of rare warmth and humanity, FASTBALL is a 95-mile-an-hour heater of a novel.
Living in Southern California, this feels like one of the most appropriate books you could pick up right now. There’s a ripple of excitement all around me as baseball season kicks off. I’ll be completely honest and let you know straight off the bat that I’m not the biggest baseball fan. I don’t have anything against it really, more along the lines of not being a major fan. I’m more of a hockey girl. Regardless if you’re a baseball fan or not, this is a great novel to get into.
On another note, completely unrelated to baseball [or is it?], I wouldn’t classify myself as a feminist, but I do believe in equality for all people, regardless of many factors such as race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status… and the list goes on. I believe that all people should be able to strive to make their dreams happen regardless of any of these factors and they should be judged on their strengths, attitude and tenacity to achieve these dreams rather than by any of the factors mentioned above.
Throw Like a Woman is a story about a woman getting the chance to play professional baseball, a classically male-only sport. The main character Brenda uses her anger, frustration and rage against her ex husband Ed to throw well. She channels all of her rage into a tunnel like focus and throws amazingly fast pitches. It’s hilarious how she bottles up and calls upon her anger and rage to pitch well. What will she do if the anger fizzles out? Will people ever become supportive of her, a woman playing a man’s sport?
Although it wasn’t my usual pick [it was a women’s fiction novel and couldn’t even come close to being considered chick-lit], I enjoyed this novel. Sometimes it’s good to step outside of your usual comfort zone and try something different. This was one of those times and it was thoroughly interesting, captivating and at times humorous. Filled with real life sticky situations of love, life and figuring it all out; divorce, children becoming teenagers, finding time for your family, having people in your life you can lean on when you need them, taking a job for financial security to care for your family and above all, dealing with people putting you down just because you’re a woman.
The biggest theme in this novel is the idea that women should be able to do anything a man does if she wants to. There was a lot of loud opposition to what Brenda was doing by playing ball with the big boys, but there was also a lot of support for her too. She was able to serve as inspiration for young girls everywhere with a dream, drive and determination to pursue their passion in a man’s world. I wouldn’t classify myself as a feminist but I believe in equality for all. You should be considered by your ability and drive to succeed; by your hard work and achievements. It’s terrible that people put Brenda down and told her to get out just because she was a woman. It should be a basic human kindness that we accept others for who they are and what they can do rather than just the nature of who they are in terms of factors that they cannot change. Fabulous read that I highly recommend to anyone that’s interested in reading a well-written story about love, life and learning how to tackle life’s little curve balls.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Receiving novels free of charge in no way reflects on my honest opinion and no monetary compensation was provided for my review.
Connect with the Author – Susan Petrone
Susan Petrone’s short fiction has been published by Glimmer Train, Featherproof Books, Muse, Conclave, and Whiskey Island. She is the author of the novels Throw Like a Woman (2015, The Story Plant) and A Body at Rest (2009, Drinian Press), which won a bronze medal for regional fiction from the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY). Her short story, “Monster Jones Wants to Creep You Out” (Conclave, 2010) was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. On the non-fiction side, Susan’s work has appeared on CoolCleveland.com and ESPN.com, and she co-owns the Cleveland Indians blog, ItsPronouncedLajaway.com, for ESPN.com’s SweetSpot network.She holds a master’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Cleveland State University and lives with one husband, one daughter, and far too many dogs in a little house near some medium-sized woods.