Tom Swyers’ first novel, Saving Babe Ruth, is the story of David Thompson who is a suburban dad and die hard baseball aficionado. David pits himself against unscrupulous parents and the seedy underbelly of youth sports, where money talks and nothing is sacred. The clash between Babe Ruth League volunteer Thompson and the for-profit titans behind the Elite Travel Baseball League escalates into a full-blown civil war as the ragtag team of Babe Ruth supporters fights to keep the game they love dearly available to every child. Like any good baseball story, Tom Swyers’ novel has you rooting for the underdog from his scrappy beginning to the end of the big game.
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Throughout the book, Swyers’ love of the game is obvious, which gives the story a strong foundation. The characters are well-written. David brings to mind a mid-nineties Kevin Costner who retains his wholesomeness even when he’s firing a historical weapon at his rival. Swyers’ writing does seem strained in a few places which can make the book feel disjointed. He pulls in a few too many threads,trying to sound contemporary, and pushes the charmingly obvious Civil War analogy overly hard. He stuffs the book with as much history and trivia as possible, a jarring move that may bring comfortably situated readers right out of a good old fashioned baseball story.
Overall, Saving Babe Ruth is a fun read with a lot of heart and is perfect for both baseball and thriller fans.
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