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 toiling away in a cubicle instead, 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.
The Indians come calling and Brenda finds her life taking a turn in a new direction. Soon, she’s 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 novel from a writer of rare warmth and humanity, THROW LIKE A WOMAN is a 95-mile-an-hour heater of a novel.
**** REVIEW ****
A Whole New Level of Brave
One of my favorite sports is baseball. I’m not a die-hard fanatic of the sport, but thoroughly enjoyed reading “Throw like A Woman,” because of the realistic angle it portrayed. It featured Brenda Haversham as a strong female who reached for a goal not many people would have the guts to pursue: a career in Major League Baseball.
Brenda isn’t any female lead character. She’s motivated, intelligent, and older, with two rambunctious boys and an ex who chooses not to be involved in their lives. She won me over to her side as the story opened with her envisioning her ex’s face as the ball’s target. This idea might seem harsh, but when you read the story, you’ll see she has every right to feel the anger she does toward her ex, Ed.
I wanted to strangle Ed’s character, especially toward the end, but Brenda’s sons were cute as heck in a destructive and fun-loving kind of way.
It was amazing to read about the different team members, each of them stood out in a small but significant way. They are the type of characters who you want to know more about. My favorite team character was Stuart, from the Minor Leagues. He has a superstition about touching people. Also, the rapport (bullying) from a few Major League players worried me until I realized Brenda could hold her own with them. I loved how the bullying issue panned out, in the end.
“Throw like A Woman” is packed with humor and grown-up words your mother would insist only hell’s angels would say (if hell’s angels played for the Cleveland Indians and had a woman’s body, heart, balls, and brains.)
I’m a sucker for a romance story, and the sweet romance in this novel was outstanding. The sparks between Brenda and Charlie knock this story out of the park. A must read for those who love inspirational stories based on breaking societal barriers.
Star Rating: Five Stars * * * * *
Reviewed by Laurie Kozlowski. Also posted on Goodreads.
*— Review disclosure — “Throw like a Woman” ARC was provided by the author and publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *
* ~ * ~ * Book Specs * ~ * ~ *
Published by: The Story Plant
Page count: 336 pages
Release Date: March 24, 2015
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Susan has published several short stories and non-fiction writing. Visit her website “Clips & Credits” section to be directed to them.
About The Author
Susan Petrone grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and although she’s moved away a couple of times (Annapolis, MD, and Alkmaar, The Netherlands), she lives there still. Her short fiction has been published by Glimmer Train, Featherproof Books, Muse, Conclave, and Whiskey Island. Her first novel, A Body at Rest, was published in 2009 by Drinian Press. Her second novel, Throw Like a Woman, is due out in March 2015 from The Story Plant. Her short story, “Monster Jones Wants to Creep You Out” (Conclave, 2010) was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Her plays have had performances and/or readings at the Cleveland Playhouse, The Lamb’s Club (New York, New York), St. Johns College (Annapolis, Maryland), and several smaller non-Equity houses in Cleveland, Ohio. She co-authors the Cleveland Indians blog (ItsPronouncedLajaway.com) for ESPN.com’s SweetSpot network. On the non-fiction side, Susan’s work has appeared on CoolCleveland.com and ESPN.com. 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.