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Book Review: Wherever I Wind Up

May 22, 2012

Here is the promised review. I am enthusiastic about recommending this autobiography Wherever I Wind Up by R.A. Dickey with Wayne Coffey and published by Blue Rider Press (Penguin Books). I have already confessed that for some odd reason, as yet unknown to me, I love baseball. But this book was about so much more than baseball.

It chronicles RA’s life from his conception to the 2011 season. It is his story about abuse as a child, huge success in athletics during his high school and college years – including the 1986  U.S. Olympics,  and his many years in the minor leagues after being a first round draft pick, and finally, a parking space with a major league team.

It was a rough road.  He was called up, and he was sent back down. He played for the farm leagues of five different clubs. He pursued a dream, even when his velocity as a pitcher was dropping.

He reinvented himself as a knuckleball pitcher. He struggled with consistency and faith in his pitch. Apparently he wasn’t the only one that lacked faith in his pitch, hence the many years in the minors.

The book is about letting go of the secrets that held him prisoner, about his journey toward being and even “becoming himself.” I know that sounds weird, but it isn’t. He learned to let go of the past and press on, to embrace the talents and trials that made him who he is. The book doesn’t just allude to a faith in God; R.A. boldly professes a faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

One of my favorite passages from the book relates a prayer he prayed before his first time out as a knuckleball pitcher. He said he prayed to do his best and to trust Your(God’s) will no matter what the outcome.  The next sentence: “The night turns out to be an excellent test of my trust, because I am horrible.”

At the same time he is battling to make the majors he has personal trials. There were the  secrets of his childhood haunting him: his dysfunctional family with an alcoholic mother and a father that as a youngster was R.A.’s idol, but became distant as he moved into his teenage years. The failures that put his marriage in jeopardy are a truning point in his life.

 The book was warm and inviting. It flowed easily. I commend the authors’ handling of the “touchy”parts of the story. R.A. was able to communicate these events without sharing too many details. I would not hesitate to let my young teens read this book, although I think an older teen or adult would gain more from the reading.

If you like baseball, you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy a sports underdog story,you will enjoy this book. If it motivates you to read of characters that persevere and let trials make them a better person, you will be motivated by R.A. Rickey’s Wherever I Wind Up:   for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball

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