GETTING BLUE by Peter Gathers


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Although burdened with the same adolescent soul-searchings that spoiled its predecessor (The Dandy, 1978), Gethers' second novel is set in the world of baseball (a world he chronicled in his non-fiction Rotisserie League Baseball), providing a colorful and engaging backdrop for the often strained obsessings of its uncertain hero. Seventeen-year-old Alex Justin knows he can ""play baseball better than anybody in New York City""; so sure is he of his talent, he has only one goal: to reach what he calls ""The Moment,"" that magical instant when everything comes together, and he does something on the baseball field--doesn't matter what--better than anyone ever has. Shuttered by this narrow vision, Alex fails at most everything outside of baseball, and early on adopts a set of strict rules--no premarital sex, for instance--in order to cope. When signed by the Phillies and sent to their North Carolina minor-league team, he quickly earns the nickname of ""The Judge"" from his freewheeling teammates, a ragtag bunch that Gethers depicts with sympathy and verve. In time, Alex bends some of his rules--he enjoys a hot affair with a waitress--but he never gives up his quest for ""The Moment,"" despite the advice of a black teammate about ""Getting Blue""; thinking of happiness as a process, not a one-time goal. Finally reaching the major leagues, Alex racks up a yeoman's career until, in the final inning of his last game in the seventh game of the World Series, he makes a spectacular, historic catch: ""The Moment."" But to his surprise, life continues: fame and fortune come from his catch, but his wife leaves him, his son commits suicide, and he must learn lo adjust to life slowly, to ""Getting Blue."" This uneasy blend of coming-of-age and sports novel never sets properly, but baseball fans will enjoy Gethers' colorful players and his knowledgeable attentions to the nuances of the game.

Pub Date: March 6th, 1987
Publisher: Delacorte