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Archives 2016-2017 > The Throwback Special - Chris Bachelder - 4 stars

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message 1: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 696 comments The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder, 2016. Read this book after it made the short list for Tournament of Books (Rooster) 2017 playoff. Published 2016, the story is about a bunch of older men who get together once a year to reenact the Throwback Special, a play in which Joe Theisman suffers a career ending compound fracture November 18, 1985. The author is Chris Bachelder, born in Minnesota and teaching in Ohio and this is not his first book. It is the first book I've read by this author. It's a bit of history of Monday night football and can be a walk down memory lane for football fans. It is an interesting tale of these 22 men who we get to know for this brief weekend and it covers male friendship and masculinity with humor and mostly good taste. Its not just about this one football game, it's more about each of these guys as they come together for this weekend. Some of the social aspects covered include fatherhood, work/business, the one man who is black deals with the issues of the possibility of a black man playing the role of black person (Lawrence Taylor), another who is thinking about his dad telling him that "people notice a job done well but in Robert's experience that had not been true, what people notice was tardiness, failure and moth damage." and Jeff's inner dialogue about marriage and that marriage is really about having someone in your life to watch you, to witness your life." And Charles who is thinks about things ending while they are starting.

So the essence of the book is a story of men's inner life and somewhat also the external life men share with each other or of men's ways of relating. The characters were interesting. The reader is slowly introduced to the 22 guys as they arrive but various pieces are added as you go along but never a complete picture of any one character. I found this to be very effective character development. I think the author meant us to get these bits and pieces of each man's thoughts and life and for the reader to fill in the blanks. It was readable. The story was in sections with chapters within the sections; As far as cover and book, it was not anything more than a green cover with the title and author name trying to give the feeling of movement. I felt that the author did achieve what he set out to tell in this story. It is an act of communion. They eat together, share rooms. The weather is rainy and uninviting. It is quest of a sorts, a voyage and return and even rebirth. I thought the book was well written, the author used a creative way to tell a story about masculinity and men's lives.


message 2: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 1182 comments I thought this was well written- I liked the imagery of the decaying hotel, and the symbolism in the book. I just had a hard time relating to the characters, and a very hard time with the premise of re-enacting that horrible football play! I remember watching that game. (Shudders)


message 3: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 696 comments I remember the game too. I don't have a hard time thinking guys would do this.


message 4: by Joi (last edited Jan 19, 2017 08:28AM) (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3782 comments Bah, another reminder to read this one!!

Maybe I'll read it in the Summer to get me pumped for when football season starts again. I don't think I'd want to read it now right after my team lost their divisional playoff.


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