Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Book Review: Senior Year

Regular readers of the Boston Globe usually have a strong opinion about Dan Shaughnessy. Maybe because I am not a Red Sox fan I’ve never felt one way or the other. So when I found out that he was publishing a book about his son’s (current BC Baseball player Sam Shaughnessy) senior year of high school sports, I eagerly looked forward to reading the book and our subsequent interview.

Sam’s senior year provides a nice story arc, but Senior Year really isn’t a traditional, diary of a season-style book. In fact by the time you get to Newton North’s rain-soaked, abbreviated 2006 season you’ve already been through most of the young protagonist and his family's story. While the structure is chronological, Shaughnessy effortlessly weaves in his own high school sports stories and touching anecdotes about his brother, cousin, small home town, Sam’s friends, and Dan’s two softball playing daughters. I enjoyed getting to know these folks and their stories far more than I would have anticipated. Members of the BC community will also recognize many of the stomping grounds and a few faces (the Shaughnessy’s seem to know everyone in Newton).

What made Shaughnessy more relatable in this book than he is in his columns is the how humble he gets about his kids. As a new parent, I found myself nodding as he captured those moments when you think you are in control and confident and doing the right thing by your children only to have your world turned upside down. You realize that you don’t always know and you cannot control their worlds and most importantly that you cannot guarantee their safety.

So Senior Year is a sports book, but it’s also a parent’s book. It’s an easy summer read (you could probably polish it off by the beach or pool) and definitely worth your time.

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