WHEN YOU CAN'T COME BACK by Dave & Jan Dravecky with Ken Gire Dravecky


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In 1989, major-league pitcher Dravecky--who struggled back from surgery on his cancerous left arm only to break the arm ruinously while pitching--learned a bitter lesson about comebacks. It's too bad he didn't heed it instead of writing this awkward missive. Dravecky has come hack to the writing table, though, with a sequel to his 1990 Comeback, which was a far more affecting memoir with its focus on his baseball career and dramatic medical ups and downs. Dravecky's wife has coauthored this update on the family saga (she and Dave contribute alternating passages), which finds the couple suffering the torments of Job, she falling into a major clinical depression and he finally losing the arm to amputation. One can only sympathize with the Draveckys' difficulties, but the tone here is so long-suffering and so self-involved (it's no anomaly that a passage in which the couple goes to the White House and meets Bush contains no impression whatsoever of the President) that only close friends are likely to find much of interest. The problem is compounded by the Draveckys' born-again philosophy that permeates the narrative, since on the page the authors' wrestlings with God lack fresh insight (""God doesn't promise us a life full of mountaintop experiences. There will be valleys to go through too,"" Dave points out): Do we really need Dave's commentary on how Field of Dreams is for him a metaphor for returning to God? Only when the agony's so raw that it seeps through the clichÉs does the book come alive--as in Dave's admission that, finally, he doesn't understand why he has suffered so; or in his description of the pain he's felt in his phantom amputated limb. The Draveckys' sincerity shines through even this orgy of soul-beating, which says a lot for them.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1992
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Zondervan & HarperSanFrancisco