Fathers & Families supporter Jeff Gillenkirk, a former speechwriter for former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, has devoted his latest book to the subject of fatherhood. The book, Home, Away, was inspired by the story of former major league baseball player Matt Williams, a single custodial father.
One reviewer of Home, Away explained:
After hitting 32 home runs and collecting 105 RBIs for the Indians in 1997, Matt Williams requested a trade to the expansion Diamondbacks so he could be close to his children in Arizona. He spent the remaining five and a half years of his career there, vetoing a deal to the Rockies in 2002.
“Being there for my kids is everything in my life,” Williams said when he nixed the trade. “This responsibility outweighs anything in my baseball career. I must and will be with my kids. I’m a dad first and a baseball player second, and I can only hope that the public can empathize with my decision. Baseball is what I do, not who I am.”
How many times during your divorce or other parenting challenges have you thought, “if only people knew what I’m feeling?” Well, here’s a book that will help. Home, Away is what divorce, custody battles and single parenting feel like. It’s being hailed as one of the only novels to seriously explore the issues facing divorced and single fathers (AlterNet), but also as “a great baseball book” (USA Today).
Home, Away is the story of Jason Thibodeaux, a star baseball player at Stanford University, who, on the brink of a professional career, has a one-night stand with a second-year law student that leaves her pregnant with his son, Raphael (Rafe). Jason puts his senior season on hold to care for the baby while his wife completes law school. Just as he is ready to return to baseball, Jason discovers that his wife is leaving him – and taking their son. The two spend the next several years battling over custody, and of course no one will suffer more from their fighting than the boy they both claim to love.
Through it all Jason’s love for his son never wavers. Home Away follows Jason through his rise and fall and re-rise in Major League Baseball, and his heroic commitment to fatherhood. Like many parents, he has to make tough choices – including one that sees him walk away from a $42 million Major League contract. Rafe needs his father, and Jason is determined to be there for him.
Sam Sattler of Book Chase calls Home, Away “one of the best books of 2010.” Isolina Ricci, author of the classic book Mom’s House, Dad’s House says simply, “It’s a great read.” To buy Home, Away, click here.