Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Home and Away

Home and Away is a memoir written by Scott Simon that is subtitled, Memoirs of a Fan.   The book is mostly about the author's affection for sports particularly Chicago teams--the Cubs, Bears, and the Bulls.  Simon also writes about his relationship with his parents and his work as a journalist.

The book is well written. I came away from the reading thinking that the author would be a good friend and, in general, as Maynard G. Krebs used to say, "A real human being."  It is not just because of his love of sports which is, if the descriptions are accurate, akin to mine, but because of his comments about his folks, step father, and the people who are affected by horrific political crimes.

As someone who lived at home in New York during the summer of 1969, and followed the Mets' improbable impossible dream season in which they overcame the Chicago Cubs who, improbably themselves, had been leading the national league through August, I especially enjoyed reading Simon's recounting of the Cubs '69 year.  His version, of course, was relayed from the opposite perspective of the Met fans who were delirious following the likes of Cleon Jones, Tommy Agee, and Donn Clendenon that summer. Simon and the Cub following were crashing when the Met fans were jubilant.

I began to like the author so much that I feel a bit uncomfortable making the following comments. Simon's writing was not uneven--it was engaging throughout--but the book itself was less a cohesive or coherent memoir than three parts fan love of Chicago teams; two parts reflections on his loving dad's debilitating sickness, his mother's strength, and step father's menschlikite; and one part experience as a journalist.  On the surface this might not seem like a big problem, and it probably is not, but Home and Away was less a memoir than a compilation of chapters and essays, on various only peripherally related subjects.  The part about the Bulls in particular read like a fan's three year chronicle of the Jordan/Jackson threepeat, as opposed to a component of a memoir.

In sum, an enjoyable read; it was nice to get to know someone like Scott Simon.  Also, touching to read about his dad and mom.  

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