May 17, 2009
Review – Stealing Home
It’s 1905 in a sleepy, one-horse town in Missouri, where all has remained the same for a good, long while. But everything changes with the arrival of Donald “Duke” Dennison, the Chicago Cubs’ star player, who’s hiding out in Picksville while he sobers up.
Ellie Jane Voyant is the sheriff’s eccentric daughter. She’s tucked herself away behind the train station’s ticket window and buried the crushing pain of childhood taunts and adult snobbery. Ned Clovis, the deaf feed store clerk, has loved Ellie Jane for years, but keeps his feelings to himself and simply watches her from a distance. Morris Bennett, a twelve-year-old Negro boy with a burning desire to shake the dust of Picksville off his shoes, winds in and out of the lives of Picksville residents – young and old, rich and poor, black and white.
The actions of the little town’s celebrity guest start a ripple effect that will impact every resident. Duke’s a known womanizer, boarding in Ellie Jane’s home. Ned, who greatly admires the newcomer and harbors a lifelong passion for baseball, must either step up to the plate or concede the play for the girl. On a more public level, Duke discovers Morris’ natural-born skill with a baseball, and determines to give the boy a chance at success, despite daunting barriers of racial discrimination and family dysfunction.
Duke. Ellie Jane. Ned. Morris. Four isolated hearts, four hidden passions. Just when it seems there might be a happy ending for them all, tragedy strikes hard and fast. Can love and faith bring them through?
Allison Pittman hits one out of the park with Stealing Home. Absolutely stunning imagery, characters that live and breathe, and incredible internalization. A powerful, touching tale. Though baseball plays a large part in the storyline, this book is not about that sport. It’s about sin and redemption. It’s an example of love and faith, secrets and lies, weakness and strength. It’s finding the “sweet spot” - standing alone at the batter’s plate while the crowd roars in the background, every eye is fixed on you, and a whole team of opponents is out to bring you down.
Stealing Home throws some unexpected curve balls, and keeps the bases loaded at all times. Great job!