Life and Life Only
By Dave Moyer
Published by IUniverse
Copyright © 2009
Readers of Puffin Circus May be familiar with the writing of Dave Moyer. He has graced our pages with two short stories: “The Tree” and “The Price of Humiliation”. These shorts were wonderful because Dave Moyer has a way of telling a story that makes you feel like you know his characters personally. We become invested in them because they are just so real. Dave has found a way to capture that in a longer format, his first novel “Life and Life Only”.
“Life and Life Only” tells the story of Dan Mason, a baseball pitching phenom from suburban Chicago. But this novel is about more than just baseball. Dan is a complex person due to his sense of common decency and he struggles with issues of family, happiness, sex, love, and politics. The only things that Dan doesn’t struggle with are baseball and Bob Dylan.
Dan’s story starts in his teen years when his future seems simple and bright. As a young man all he wants to be is a major league baseball player and he wants a pretty girl to like him. Dan’s dreams seem to be coming true when he goes to a major college baseball powerhouse and meets the girl of his dreams. But life just never turns out the way you plan. Injuries and family complicate things. Dan learns to play the cards he was dealt, but his wife does not. Dan slowly makes strides in his professional career as educator and administrator, but this success only masks the fact that his marriage is slowly deteriorating. How Dan deals with disappointment, change, and heartbreak are really what define this book.
Dave sets the stage for each chapter with a quote from a Bob Dylan song, or from some other venerable rock Icon’s song. The love of Dylan are not as much a theme in the story as it is a backdrop against which to set Dan’s life.
There are some things about this book that the reader has to work through. At times this novel seems to bog down with song lists and current events updates. There is the occasional needless flash forward. And then sometimes there is confusion as to which viewpoint the narration is coming from. But overall the book was enjoyable; because Dave Moyer delivers a character in Dan Mason that we can really relate to and want to root for. We want him to end up in the big leagues, we want him to have a happy marriage, and we want him to find some closure in his life. “Life and Life Only” would be a good read for anyone, but especially for those who just can’t get enough baseball or Bob Dylan.