It is often said that music serves as the soundtrack of our lives. So how about setting a sports-related story to the words and music of Bob Dylan? This is the interesting premise for the story Life and Life Only by first-time novelist Dave Moyer. Life is the story of Dan Mason, a 92 miles-per-hour fastball pitcher in high school who turns down a major league contract in order to attend college at the University of Georgia. Mason gambles that the MLB will be there waiting for him after he completes a successful pitching career with the Bulldogs. What he doesn’t expect – although secretly has wished for – is to meet a perfect Southern belle. Mason, in fact, meets and marries Anne Jean Simpson whose beauty is obvious to all.
Of course, there’s a danger in getting exactly what you want out of life, and the reader will wonder what’s less likely, that Mason will make the big leagues or remain married to Anne Jean? Let’s just say that life throws a few curveballs Mason’s way, which is why he must come to terms with disappointment and loss. What makes the telling of the story fun is to see the events in Mason’s life set in space and time by Dylan’s music. And, to some extent, Dylan serves as a source of strength for Mason, because Dan attends Dylan concerts as a means of rejuvenating and recharging his life and his faith.
Yes, there’s a touch of the spiritual in this tale, although Moyer handles it so tactfully that it is not going to bother the non-church going reader. Near the end, something happens that can be viewed as either a near miracle or as something simply meant to happen. Perhaps, in Bob Dylan’s words, it’s a simple twist of fate.
I hesitate to divulge any more of the plot lines. (Sometimes less is more; sometimes it is better to say of a review that “nothing was revealed.”) I’ll just add that it’s not too late to order this book for Christmas from Amazon for anyone on your list who is a Boomer, a rabid Dylan fan, a Byrds or Joni Mitchell fan, a sports fan, a baseball player, teacher or human being.
Good work by Moyer with this semi-autobiographical tale (“I like to say that all of it is true and none of it is true…”), which is why we’re looking forward to the sequel, Younger Than That Now.
A review copy was received from the author. Published by iUniverse.