Hello dear blogging world! I am so excited to be writing again. We are still adjusting and a bit exhausted over here. But loving life as a family of four 🙂
I have actually been doing a good amount of reading recently. But I haven’t been even thinking about writing reviews. So suddenly, I find myself 5 books behind on my reviews as I start feeling more healed. And rather than panic over that fact, I am just going to start writing reviews when I can.
When my mom came to stay with us (and helped SO much!), she brought several books she had gotten from a Free Little Library back home. Have you seen those? They are so cool! I read a few of those while she was here. First up is the first book I finished after having our daughter–Million Dollar Arm by J. B. Bernstein.
- I want to see the movie after reading the book. I love true sports stories so I’m looking forward to this one.
- And I do not want to go to India. Haha. It just sounds crazy with all the different cultural things he had to deal with and the traffic and poverty. Perhaps I’m also still on my postpartum “I-don’t-want-to-travel-with-two-kids-ever” mindset 🙂
- I would describe this as a quick, light read. That made it perfect for me to read just a few days post postpartum.
Million Dollar Arm by J. B. Bernstein is the true story of a sports agent who goes to India to find the next baseball superstar–a country where no one plays baseball. Goodreads summarizes, “[Bernstein’s] idea was The Million Dollar Arm, a reality television competition with a huge cash prize and a chance to become the first native of India to sign a contract with an American major-league team. The result is a humorous and inspiring story about three guys transformed: Bernstein, the consummate bachelor and shrewd businessman, and Dinesh and Rinku, the two young men from small farming villages whom he brought home to California. Million Dollar Arm is a timeless reflection on baseball and the American dream, as well as a tale of victory over incredible odds. But, above all, it’s about the limitless possibilities inside every one of us.”
The story is the highlight of this book for me. In fact, it is what drew me to this book. I enjoy true sports stories so I was excited about this one. The funny thing is you know how these sorts of stories will end. You know that Bernstein will find someone with the talent that makes them a potentially great baseball player. But it’s the journey to that happy ending that makes these stories memorable. I enjoyed reading about the boys’ journeys and the fun anecdotes along the way as they adjust to life in America. I enjoyed reading about their successes in learning to pitch and rooted for them as they tried out for the major leagues.
I didn’t really connect with any of the characters on more than a surface level. Perhaps that was a product of it being a memoir or because the book is rather short. In part, I think it is because I didn’t connect with the author. His wild past and self obsession were both turnoffs for me. Regardless, I would have preferred more descriptions of Dinesh and Rinku. Perhaps even some of the events in the book from their perspectives. That would have made them more dynamic and round characters.
While I appreciate that this is a memoir, the writing and style sometimes bothered me. Yes, the author is not a writer by trade, but I think that hindered the book. The writing was juvenile and repetitive at times. It could have been quite a bit shorter and still maintain the scope of the story. And it’s not a terribly long book–only 240 pages. I found myself skimming paragraphs that make the same argument as previous ones. Also, I thought it was a rather self centered book. Yes, memoirs are about yourself but I thought the author’s life was not the interesting one in this story. I appreciated how her changed as a person, but I would have preferred more details about Dinesh and Rinku’s experiences (like more in their MLB tryout) rather than all the details about the famous athletes the author has represented. We get it; you know a lot of famous people. But the unique part of the story is the way baseball changed Dinesh and Rinku’s lives. And that is where I would have liked more details.
My favorite quote from the book comes from a moment when Bernstein meets Rinku’s family and learns a valuable lesson about what matters in life from his father. One of my favorite part of this book is the journey Bernstein goes on to discovering what really matters in life–family.
“The family had made a commitment to educating their kids, even if it meant that money was tighter than usual…. It wasn’t a sacrifice because they understood their lives as one link in a chain. Their job was to be as strong a link as possible in a chain that stretches back to the beginning of time and forward until the end of time. It’s about fulfilling your obligation to both past and future generations.”
Million Dollar Arm, page 200
Overall, a fun and quick read with a feel good ending and a great message. But not my favorite book. Recommended for sports lovers and people who love stories about the American Dream. Now I need to see the movie to compare!
What are some of your favorite true story inspired sports novels?