I am always looking for books on baseball to read, but rarely do I run across one that is fiction. That was the case when I came across Boomerang Baseball.
With the Australian Baseball League (ABL) restarting this year, I got hooked on trying to watch some of the games online. It has been a great way to get my baseball fix during the winter, and the ABL has been a lot of fun to follow. While doing a little reporting on the ABL at Baseball de World I was able to meet, through his comments, Mr. Henning. This has been a blessing as it has not only introduced me to baseball fiction, but Mr. Henning has provided a lot of insight on the league.
When I found out Mr. Henning was an author, I was anxious to read one of his books. So I picked up a copy of Boomerang Baseball. I read about half of it on my trip to Charlotte late last year, then lost the book on the flight home, so I picked up another copy.
The book is about the early life of Trent McKnight. Told in an autobiographical style, it’s an interesting ride as Trent battles with his on-again, off-again relationship with baseball as well as the little problems that each of us go through during our formidable years.
I picked up this book mainly because it dealt with baseball, and I hoped to see some insight about a country, Australia, where baseball isn’t played as much as other sports. And I wasn’t let down. I really enjoyed reading about Trent taping baseball shows on TV and watching them over and over. This brought back a lot of memories of when I was young and staying up late, with the volume nearly all the way down as to not wake my parents, to watch baseball on ESPN. Or Trent finding somewhere to buy baseball cards or find equipment. I grew up in a small town and can remember the days when I got to go to a bigger city to a large sporting good store. Seeing all of that baseball equipment was like Christmas all over again.
But the book is more than baseball. Being a bit older now, I can look back on Trent’s struggles knowing I went through a lot of similar things. Ever since I can remember I wanted to play professional baseball and there comes a time when you find out that that dream just isn’t going to come true. That isn’t an easy thing to deal with. Trent goes through this same ordeal over the years as he struggles with finding out he isn’t the elite player required to continue on with a baseball career. But that’s not all he struggles with.
I think I can safely say we have all had issues with the opposite sex, and Trent is no exception. Seeing him go through different phases of becoming a man was really entertaining. He struggles with playing baseball with girls, and then later going through a lot of the normal growing pains of a teenager/young adult. There are a lot of other issues Trent runs into like overcoming self-doubt, a temper, bullying, and failure. These are things that everyone must deal with at one point, and Mr. Henning does a great job incorporating all of this with Trent’s baseball life.
I also learned a lot about Australian baseball. There are a handful of Aussies that have made the major leagues like Grant Balfour, Damian Moss, Peter Moylan, and David Nilsson. But did you know Graeme Lloyd was the first one to win a World Series title with the Yankees in 1996? I didn’t until I read the book.
The ending was perhaps the best part of the book. I don’t want to give it away, because I think you need to go out and read this book. It’s a feel good story of a kid who goes through his struggles and successes. But the book is more than just baseball, it deals with life too. I really enjoyed the book and think you will too. So go out and pick up a copy. I got mine off of Amazon.
Mr. Henning also has a 2nd book that deals with baseball. The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento is a story about an Australian ball player traveling to the US to pursue his baseball dreams as he plays in the minor leagues. After reading Boomerang Baseball, this has gone into my “must read” list.
You can find all of Nicholas R.W. Henning’s book on Amazon and you can follow his blog at http://nicholasrwhenning.blogspot.com/. I would highly recommend picking up one of his books as I thoroughly enjoyed mine. In my own personal way of rating, I would have to give this book 5 gloves.