Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Home Run.






    When I first heard about the Home Run movie (and book!) I knew right who I wanted to give it to. I have a sports fan in my family who is also a movie fan and has had trouble with all the issues dealt with in this book. A story might be the way to reach them. Film is a great blessing to Christians, to be able to use a powerful medium to give the Gospel message in a way that stays with viewers for a long time.

    Home Run is the story of an out of control alcoholic who vowed he would never be like his father- and is. 

    Cory's life was tormented by his father when he was young. He lived in fear and tried to protect his little brother Clay from their father's rage. 

    Cory met a sweet girl in high-school, and left her with a baby boy. He went to play baseball, and she married a soldier who adopted her son as his own. Cory went to the big leagues and Emma's soldier went to Afghanistan and died. Emma's son Tyler mourned the loss of the good man who had taken care of them...and Tyler never knew he had a father who had left him ten years before. 
    
   Cory Brand is now famous... and drinking and medicating himself heavily. 
    When Cory attacks an umpire and hits an honorary batboy in the nose, he is suspended for eight weeks. For PR reasons he is told he is going to coach the boy's little league and attend a Celebrate Recovery Group. 

   The batboy turns out to be Carlos Brand, his nephew, newly adopted by Cory's brother and his wife Karen. They had brought Carlos to the field to meet his uncle. 
Cory finds himself in the middle of the family he had left behind...his brother who continues to forgive him, Karen who "just doesn't understand what it is like to have a hard life", and Carlos who thinks Cory is a hero. 

    The other family he left is here in this town too. Emma and Tyler.  

    Home Run is an exploration of the healing process from alcoholism in a man and his family. 

    In every movie that is made into a book, each one will have its strengths. 
I always wanted a book when I really enjoyed the movie, because the book can be re-read slowly, and usually has more depth. Ultimately, I think that a well written book can capture more emotion than a movie, although a movie's visuals can get right into the brain, so to speak. The movie often captures the emotion in a much shorter period of time, while books need to set the stage with words. I can see how both the film and the book Home Run will move people. This novelization is written with flash backs to show you Cory's youth, and has several story lines going at once:

     Emma, who knows that the things Cory did that were supposedly "fun" when he was young were setting the stage for what is just plain old sin now- drunkenness and sexual immorality. Emma wants nothing to do with the immature and shiftless man in front of her, who is trying to be charming. There was nothing innocent or admirable in him then, and I was glad to see restraint from Emma until he changed his behavior.  (The idea of someone less than Godly weaseling or worming their way back into your heart is thankfully unBiblical. As is the "Good Girl can't help but be attracted to the Bad Boy" myth.) 


   Tyler, the son who breaks his mother's heart because he looks like his father.
   Tyler, the boy who has always loved baseball, and who has a treasured box of baseball cards given to him by the old man who used to mow their lawn. Tyler who loves his Coach Cory. (My personal favorite scene when Cory was trying to come back into Tyler's life was when he brought him a puppy--and Emma sent it back home with him.) 

    And Cory himself. Spoiled by his money, thinking he can fix everything from DUI's to car accidents to suspensions by telling his agent to just pay it off. Of course, the things he can't pay off are the ones most broken: His son, His past, and Emma. 
    He undeniably carries a great deal of pain from his father, but needs to accept responsibility for his own choices. His incessant justification of his sinful actions is keeping him trapped, and his insistance that no one understands in patently false. (This is a lesson his sister in law Karen teaches him, in an unforgettable manner.) 
    He lives in the netherworld of knowing that the God his Mom talked to is there, and yet not wanting to acknowledge his guilt before Him and ask Him for help. It is a men's group that leads him to His Savior. The group is Celebrate Recovery, where men speak honestly of their sins and God's Grace that changed their lives and now sustains them. 

   When Cory has men who care, whom he can call in a struggle against temptation, the pieces are coming together for his life to heal. And when his life heals, several other lives will be knit together and a multitude of prayers will be answered. 

    I think this book and movie will do what stories have the power to do- show viewers that 
there is hope for people with these temptations and addictions. The ministry of Celebrate Recovery is a very commendable ministry. 

I received this book from Cook Publishing to review. 



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