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The Education of Jake O'Brien by Michael Freeman

The Education of Jake O'Brien

by Michael Freeman

308 pages
Major league stardom fails to give an aging ballplayer happiness.

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Category: Fiction
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About the Book
The history of his being the sole survivor of two tragic events haunts career minor league baseball player Jake O'Brien and provokes questions he would prefer to ignore. Baseball has become a refuge from the implications of his past. He is a highly skilled athlete, but Fortune has teased him with success in obscure venues while denying him entry to the grand stage of the major leagues. Then, in 1957, the Cleveland Indians call the thirty-seven year old outfielder up from their Pacific Coast League affiliate to provide offensive punch in the team's pennant race with the New York Yankees.

After an uneven start with the Indians, O'Brien achieves heroic stature and earns the admiration of the other Cleveland ballplayers. However, the roller coaster ride he and his teammates endure during their run to the season ending playoff game with the Yankees, the prospect of his baseball career coming to an end due to his advanced age, and doubts raised by his courtship of the beautiful divorcee Helen Simopoulis resurrect the existential issues he has been trying to forget.

In the winter following the 1957 season, the geographical distance separating Helen and Jake when he returns to the west coast to fulfill an off season obligation becomes an anxiety provoking emotional chasm. Jake sets out on a cross country drive back to Cleveland with the intention of winning back Helen's affection. During the trip, he has encounters with two couples living through desperate times. Their courage and pluck in the face of misfortune inspire Jake to confront and accept the vagaries of the human condition with equanimity.

The novel is a celebration of baseball as national mythology, the history of a tempestuous romance, and a coming of age story of a heroic figure struggling to find his humanity.

 

 

About the Author
Michael Freeman is a retired general surgeon who has been writing full time since 2003. He was a 2007 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Zola award finalist and was a second place winner in the 2011 Arizona Authors Association Literary Contest. He lives with his wife Vickie in Sanger, California.

 

 

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